Weekend Special: My Views on Liquor Initiatives 1100 & 1105

October 24, 2010

Last weekend I presented Washington State Initiatives 1100 and 1105 with lots of opinions and statistics for and against them. Here how I am going to vote:

My Stance on I-1100:

I previously stated I am pro I-1100, and I have not changed my opinion on that. I believe more in a free market trade, where a local winery can go to a local store or local restaurant and have them sell their product without a distributor. It allows things to be done locally and direct. I believe that distributors will still exist, because at some point, doing self distribution is too difficult. However, if you are too small for a distributor to really spend any of their time to promote your product, you can work around them.

Some critics (mostly major out of state micro brew beer companies) claim that hard alcohol will take the shelf space of beer and wine in grocery stores. I don’t think the beer industry has anything to worry about, as I highly doubt grocery stores would chill hard alcohol, which would be more inclined to use wine shelf space. However, I don’t really think there would be that much of a consumer shift, as people would still want their beer when they get home and their glass of wine with dinner. Look at college students – even though they will make special alcohol purchasing trips for parties, they go to both grocery stores and liquor stores, and they always still beer.

The craft beer industry is also afraid of the volume discounts, claiming that new and smaller breweries would not be able to compete. Thing is, they are already competing against discounted mass produced beers and able to do well, so the only difference is that they would now be competing against each other, but they are already doing that, too. I really predict no change.

Admittedly, I’m not entirely sure how the whole employment factor of I-1100 will settle out, and I do feel sorry for the mom and pop shops. Yet, I find it ironic that some many other government services are closing and people are becoming unemployed, and yet this is where the fight appears to keep jobs?

My Stance on I-1105:

I would rather keep our system the way it is than see I-1105 pass.

First off, you would be breaking one monopoly, the State sales, only to keep in place another monopoly, mandatory third party distributors. This is not a free market. To quote a Seattle Times Editorial, “It would also close the state liquor stores, but it would keep the anti-competitive rules in beer and wine, and end the state monopoly in spirits by giving it to a private cartel.”

I-1105 also will be repealing the state liquor taxes. I think the government is hurting too much for money right now to be cutting a tax on such a vice. You do not hear of anyone proposing to cut taxes on cigarettes, so they shouldn’t be on alcohol, either.

I just feel that this measure isn’t completely right or fair, and I would rather keep our flawed system in tack than see us switch to this.

What Happens Both Pass:

According to KHQ TV in Spokane, “It’s up to the State Legislature to amend both measures together, with a 2/3 majority vote. If they can’t do that, the initiatives get turned over to the courts.”

How I Would Feel if Both Fail:

Honestly, I can handle status quo. I would be a little disappointed that the mandatory distribution system was not done away with as I-1100 would give, but I feel that remaining status quo is better than I-1105 passing.

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