Update: More West Seattle stores seeking hard-liquor licenses

Two weeks ago, we reported that QFC was the first to seek licenses to sell hard liquor in West Seattle, once Initiative 1183 takes effect, privatizing liquor retailing in our state. We’re continuing to watch the liquor-license applications, and there are a few more stores seeking spirits (hard liquor) retail-sales permits: All three Safeway stores in West Seattle have now applied (Jefferson Square, Admiral, Roxbury); so has West Seattle Thriftway. June 1st is the day that the state is supposed to be out of the booze-selling business.

22 Replies to "Update: More West Seattle stores seeking hard-liquor licenses"

  • rite February 9, 2012 (9:09 pm)

    Visualize Liberty.

  • add February 9, 2012 (9:35 pm)

    All I can say is that when I was in Phoenix I saw Grey Goose Vodka on sale at Safeway for $25.99. With Club Card.

  • WTF February 9, 2012 (10:03 pm)

    And I saw a bottle of St. Michelle white in the liquor store for $5.99 and in QFC for $8.99.
    There won’t be any drop in prices (the big lie). This is a billion dollar business and, like “coffee drinks” stores will manipulate you into believing you’re getting a deal.

  • AlexDe February 9, 2012 (10:12 pm)

    Isn’t Grey Goose Kirkland brand in disguise?

    Or visa versa :^O

  • coffee February 9, 2012 (10:30 pm)

    What about the fact that the Times story a few weeks ago talking about the costs not really dropping…I will believe it when I pay a lower price.

  • na February 9, 2012 (11:35 pm)

    Unfortunately the fine language in the initiative was not clear. Essentially as of June 1st, all spirits will end up costing the consumer about 35% more than before at a state store. It was advertised that passing the initiative would lower costs and increase selection. This is likely not the case. Consumers will be seeing more corporate brands, less small distilleries and costs with all of the new taxes, etc will be roughly 25% more for a mixed drink at restaurants and 35% more retail unless you buy bulk house brands like Kirkland, or other big box store brands. The only folks benefitting will be the big corporate giants, small business will suffer and the consumer will be unfairly paying substantially more. This has nothing to do with removing the state from the liquor business, we didn’t disagree with that. However, there were better ways to do this than a poorly written initiative created by corporate America that could care less about promoting small local business or the consumer. Make a journal of what you are paying now for spirits all inclusive of taxes and compare it to your bill come June…a lot of consumers will be frustratingly surprised.

  • me February 10, 2012 (12:50 am)

    Deception, our new national product

  • Val Vashon February 10, 2012 (5:48 am)

    I know this will amaze many of you, but there are some of us who do not suck at the teat of whatever Costco has to offer. We have recently had the opportunity to sample many of the food items from Costco courtesy of an in-law who is a member. What we have discovered is that there is hardly a foodstuff with “Kirkland” on it that is any good. It’s all bland, tasteless and not satisfying to eat. I even suspect that they demand ingredient changes (not just packaging changes) from the major, non Kirkland brands that they carry.

    Expect that to carry over into liquor as well. Like that foul Two-Buck-Chuck that Trader Joe’s has brainwashed people into thinking is wine and not kerosene by keeping the price low, you will see the plastic jug grade “Kirlkland” liquors be dramatically cheaper than the similar grade of liquor is now, and any sort of premium brand of liquor will end up more expensive.

    I don’t drink the cheapest stuff out there just to get drunk; I enjoy a well made drink now and then. My better half makes the most amazing Kamikazes and Lemon Drops with good potato vodka, and I enjoy a nice sip of good Scotch on occasion. Would I taste the difference if she used Monarch from a plastic bottle? You bet!

    My stockpiling of Monopolowa starts this weekend.

  • Caprial February 10, 2012 (6:31 am)

    I’m wondering how the Admiral Safeway could offer hard liquor without a waiver of some kind, since they’re within 500′ of a school. The restaurants in the area (Circa, and the East Indian one down a block) had to have a waiver signed before they could serve hard liquor so close to a school.
    Just curious….

  • Al February 10, 2012 (6:32 am)

    They shouldn’t be surprised because if one took the time to actually research the issue rather than rely on the media for information, they would have discovered exactly what you wrote above, na. And oh no! Safeway and Circa sells beer and wine! Man the hatches!

  • Cclarue February 10, 2012 (6:40 am)

    Val costco does not do ingredient changes. Kirkland products are the top national brands re labeled. Thats it . No tricky stuff.

  • Tuesday February 10, 2012 (7:01 am)

    It’s all fun and games to hate “evil” corporations until you look at your retirement portfolio. As a regular person that hope to see my investments grow I am very eager to see corporations make money and pass along the benefits of that growth to shareholders. It never ceases to amaze me that benefits to shareholders are ignored in this conversation. Doesn’t anyone want people to be able to retire anymore? Shall we work to the grave? So no, I don’t begrudge Costco success. What is ridiculous is that the opportunity for wealth increase is not also passed along to much smaller businesses. But then again, what did you expect when the government is involved? It’s not like politicians are interested in anything more than the perception that they are interested in your well being.

  • GRG February 10, 2012 (8:34 am)

    @na and others who misunderstand pricing. What you are forgetting is that the state marks up every bottle 51.7% so lets say 52% from the price they pay. That markup goes away under privatization. That is the income the state makes. In order to make that up, wholesale distributors will pay 10% of their price (which will no doubt be reflected in a 10% increase in wholesale prices), and then retailers are free to set any price they choose after that. Retailers must then pay 17% of their sales to the state, so expect a 17% markup at least. So, even if stores do some fluctuating in prices to make a larger profit margin — lets say 3%, you have a markup now of 27% from wholesale. Compare that to the 52% the state marks up. Do the math folks — 25% less. Now will they all be 25% less? No. But expect a price drop of anywhere between 10-20%, greater convenience and competition to bring more selection. You don’t think that Met Market won’t be chomping at the bit to sell local spirits just like they do local wines and we won’t drive to their store to get them when Safeway doesn’t carry them? Think again folks… AND don’t forget that in two years the wholesaler’s fee to the state drops from 10% to 5%, thus lowering prices further.

    Gotta love all the naysayers and nannystaters who think the state is the be-all end-all and that private business is bad. You will be eating your words, or in this case drinking your words later this summer my friends.

  • Gennessee Hill February 10, 2012 (9:01 am)

    It is cheaper to buy a bottle of scotch on-line and have it shipped from Chicago than it is to buy the same bottle in the WA state store. I welcome the change.

  • Ron D February 10, 2012 (9:48 am)

    Market competition will prevail!

  • T-Rex February 10, 2012 (10:00 am)

    Val Vashon, I am with you and will be stockpiling my Koenig from Idaho as well. Try it if you really like potato vodka.

    I have been worried ever since this passed that the not so famous brands will not make it to the grocery store level. I am expecting that the higher end stores like West Seattle Thriftway and Metropolitan Market will carry them, I am keeping my fingers crossed!

    If not, Idaho here I come!

  • Chris February 10, 2012 (10:27 am)

    GRG – Isn’t the 51.7% tax still in place for the first 2 years and then it goes down? I thought I read that in the initiative.

  • NotMe February 10, 2012 (10:20 pm)

    Lol… It never ceases to amaze me how some people come up with a pile of poo like 35% increases – and remember – for “ALL spirits.” where do you get this stuff?
    And how about the evil lords at Costco? Wow. “They” must have secret labs where “they” change ingredients and then what was it again? Re-package and re-sell it?
    Yep, it’s time to stop reading the comments for a while. I get too frustrated at this sort of ignorance. It’s my own fault…

  • GRG February 11, 2012 (9:57 am)

    @ Chris — No, the markup is eliminated — you may be thinking of the fee paid by wholesale distributors which is at 10% of sales for the first two years then drops to 5% of sales after that. The only thing that stays in place is the state litre and liquor sales taxes, which are NOT included in the 52% markup.

  • Val Vashon February 11, 2012 (5:53 pm)


    All I’m saying about the Kirkland brand stuff is that anything I’ve tasted- pasta sauce, soy milk and the tortellini for example- is very bland and unsatisfying. If you are looking for big profits, why not make it that way? Saves you money on spices or flavorings (probably the most expensive ingredients) and mild to non-existent flavors offend nobody. America eats more and buys more to try and satisfy their hunger, and the waistlines expand. Same thing with the hooch. Knocking back cheap vodka and cranberries all night ends up being way less satisfying than having one or two drinks made with good liquor.

  • na February 12, 2012 (2:04 pm)

    GRG,I just came from a meeting with attorneys and others working for the initiative about a week ago. The existing taxes on spirits does not go away with the initiative. In fact, the existing taxes stay in addition to new taxes being added. The people at this meeting that know way more about how this initiative is working than most of us, did extensive before/after analysis and it demonstrates an increase to the consumer. After all is added from taxes to distributors, retailers and on the consumer, the consumer will be paying significantly more for the same bottle of spirits and for cocktails at restaurants. It is frustrating but that’s the way it was written into the initiative. We are not nay sayers for taking the state out of the liquor business but unfortunately the way 1183 was written, it will not save the consumer money unless the consumer buys bulk house brands such as Kirkland.

  • Roxbury Ron February 12, 2012 (7:03 pm)

    Simple…stop drinking the stuff and you save a whole lot…how’s that for a discount?

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