Thats great. But isnt it true that the consumer is going to be paying more, possibly 20% more per bottle once this law goes into effect? And unless the large specialty liquor retailers move into Washington, I worry about Wal-Mart, Costco, et al will not be stocking anything more than the usual mainstream brands.
@1 - But now you can buy Smirnoff at Safeway!
Only three months until every teenager in the state dies in a horrible flaming drunken car crash.
@2 And Monarch at Wal-Mart!
@1 I'm guessing there will be lag between when the law goes into effect and specialty retailer(s) move in. But my sense is that there is a strong enough market to support specialty retailers, at least here in the city, so I hope we get there eventually.
@4, no one has any idea, because the state stores didn't know market prices.

The only thing I'm interested in is WHERE ARE THE LICENSES. What stores have licenses? WHICH retailers? Don't say "Safeway" because Safeway's not going to have anything worth buying. Where are the LIQUOR STORES?

I have a suspicion I won't be able to buy a half-decent bottle of rum anywhere in this city for another year.
@4 - Right, they probably weren't selling at market prices, but the initiative adds a 10% distributor fee as well as a 17% retail fee to an already highly taxed item - thats where the worry is.…

@7: I've read Wal-Mart and QFC so far, I am sure there are plenty more, but to me it doesnt look good for decent bottles of rum for a while.
Could just not have a Liquor Control Board, and let the police enforce the law. Same as all our other laws.
Why are people so scared of grocery stores not stocking a wide variety of liquor brands? Sure, maybe a national chain like Safeway won't do it, but take a look at the selection of wines at bigger QFC stores. It's pretty impressive. I'm sure they will employ that same mentality to their liquor selection. So much speculation and assumption over what the stores are going to carry, and we don't even KNOW yet. Just let it play out.
@ 7, I keep thinking your avatar is Will's. Not a good thing.

And BTW, none of the bands you mentioned yesterday had a fraction of the impact of the Pistols. And I say that as someone who has never been all that enamored of them. (I went over it in my head, and I may have heard "Bollocks" 200-300 times in my life, placing it WAY down the list of Matt's Most Listened. So don't go thinking that I'm some Sid worshipper.)

End of threadjack.
Oh, and Fnarf, what's an example of "decent rum"? I can see what the local places carry and suss out whether they'd be carried by a place like Metropolitan Market, at least.
I've seen a couple of the notices that say stores have applied for liquor licenses. There is one on the QFC on Pike and Bdwy.
Leasing spaces around the block from Dan's house, and then practically under Dan's chair at work, has to be the savviest investing Derschang has done in the past decade.
I don't understand why people think Safeway isn't going to have good liquor. When I lived in California, the liquor section at Safeway was huge.

But onto the important matter: Do I read correctly that there's going to be an entire month where there's nowhere to buy liquor (other than places that serve it)? That oughta be interesting.
God damn am I stupid. Never mind, May 31 and June 1 are not a month apart.
@15 The last time I visited CA (last summer), I went to a Safeway and bought liquor. The selection of specialty product was not good compared to (at least some of) our state-run liquor stores. Maybe you lived by a special Safeway, or maybe I went to a crappy one. Either way, it's a legitimate question hanging out there.
I had a chance to tour the Batch 206 distillery last week, it is absolutely beautiful and Batch 206 and Counter Gin are amazing small craft products. Congrats!
850 stores have applied for licenses, including (thank you baby Jeebus!) BevMo and Wine World Warehouse.…
@ 19 - Hmm. It says Metropolitan Market has NOT yet applied for a license. That's one place that I always assumed would. I even checked with the one on top of Queen Anne, since it was smaller than the others, and they told me their store was just barely 10,000 square feet. So store size shouldn't be an issue keeping them from going for it.
Batch 206 and Counter Gin are both world class Craft Products made right here in Seattle. Cheers to your success in this new marketplace!
Do all of the state liquor stores have to close? A friend heard from the guy who is running the state liquor store next to the Safeway on Rainier and Andover that it's going to stay open, and in fact will be pivoting to carrying a wider selection of local and boutique liquors because the grocery stores will only be carrying a few large brands. Is that true, or was this guy full of it?
@As I've said countless times before- if the demand for a large selection of specialty alcohol is out there, we are guaranteed to get a large liquor warehouse where you'll be able to find anything your heart desires. If it happened in Alaska, it sure as hell will happen here... Might not be a block away from your apartment on Capitol Hill, but it will be available.

I believe there is the option of private individuals/companies buying existing liquor stores and continuing to run them. It sounds like the manager of the Rainier/Andover store is quite an enterprising fellow.
@19, I was wondering about Wine World. I kind of assumed when they first opened that they were anticipating the passage of the earlier privatization bill, a couple of years ago, because their space is so freakishly and unnecessarily huge and empty. The last time I went by there they had a CAR inside, yes, really, some kind of Ford, I think, as a promotional thing like you sometimes see at the airport. Not that much wine. I hope their liquor selection is better. But they're close enough, sort of.

@12, the minimum standard for rum in the under-$20 category is Appleton Estate from Jamaica, the VX (the cheapest Estate, in the squat bottle, not the junk in the tall bottle). For a few bucks more, Mount Gay from Barbados or Barbancourt from Haiti (or the higher level Appletons, like the Estate Reserve). For a few dollars more than that, you're into the genuinely good stuff, like One Barrel from Belize or Zaya from Trinidad (the best). Over about $40 there are no wrong choices -- Ron Zacapa 23-year-old, Flor de Caña Centenario, et al. One of the nice thing about rum is that prices top out around the place where single malt Scotch begins.

In addition a liquor store con be considered worthless if they don't have at least two different brands of cachaça, Brazilian cane rum. To be truly good, there should be at least one Rhum Agricole from Martinique, and preferably five or six -- a standard that almost no WSLCB ever met.
I just created and saved a document called "Fnarf's Guide to Rum."

You like to drink rum neat, don't you? Chilled or room temp?
@23 - as the link I posted earlier points out, BevMo already has applied for 4 separate store location licenses. Have you ever been in a BevMo? I have. They have EVERYTHING.
@25 - I have a half-bottle of Barbancourt you can have. I have tried to cultivate a taste for the better rums and Scotches, and I'm just wasting money and perfectly good liquor. I'm sticking with my Hendricks.
@25 you would have been pissed at the amount of Havana Club I drank in Vietnam last month.
@ 25, all noted, and will check out the availability at my favorite non-mega liquor stores. (I expect the megas will all have some of these - Denver's the hotbed of mixed drinks these days, so they better have a good selection of everything.) I'll ask which distributors they get their stuff from, figure out if their big enough to do business in WA as well as here (I'm willing to bet that there are a lot of small outfits running this stuff) and get back to you one way or another.
@27, on the rocks. I like it to dilute a little, and I like it to start cool and warm in my mouth, where it usually stays for about a minute. If I forget people are around I might even swish it around my teeth and making moaning and chuckling sounds. If I feel like a mixed drink, I'll squeeze a quarter of a lime in it.

@28, depends on the store. The BevMo in Sherman Oaks (the last one I was in) was worse than any WSLCB store, in twice the square footage. That's what I'm worried about.

@30 you felonious bastard (it is a felony for an American to purchase a Cuban product EVEN IN OTHER COUNTRIES, even if you finish it there and don't try to bring it back. Any product; the label off that bottle, or off a cigar, is just as illegal as the object itself. I've done it several times in Canada and Mexico; COME AND GET ME STATE DEPARTMENT BITCHEZ).

@26, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Check out the Ministry of Rum website for more. Them people are crazy; they collect the stuff -- I drink it til it's gone. Other brands I approve of are Pyrat (despite the idiotic bottle; especially for fans of oranges) and Bacardi Añejo (but no other common Bacardi product except the Reserva, if you can find it).

@31, as mentioned, these are MINIMAL standards, not quality standards. A crappy liquor store isn't going to make me happy because they have Mount Gay. This is like saying "Jim Beam" for bourbon -- it's drinkable, in the sense that most people wouldn't drink a worse one, but it's not what we're looking for.

I'm going to continue to whine and bitch until a store opens up with thirty brands of rum -- about what my closest WSLCB has. The most important thing of all is variety. And obscurity. The two most important things of all are variety and obscurity, and quality. The three most important things are -- wait, wait, I'll come in again....
BevMo is AWFUL. I've been in several since moving to CA, and none had the selection of WSLCB store. But they had every Anheiser-Busch product! And corner liquor stores are even worse.
On a related note, I will be opening a 10,000-square-foot specialty store called 35 Rhums right next to Fnarf's house.

Seriously, although we've had our disagreements over the WSLCB, I-1100, I-1105, and to a lesser extent I-1183, that is a heck of a guide to awesome-yet-drinkably-priced rums, Fnarf.

About a year ago, I had a $12-ish pour of something recommended by the bartender at Ballard's La Isla that turned out to be the most delicate, complicated, delicious brown liquors I'd ever tasted in my life. As you said, stunning rum can be had at the same price point where decent single-malt whiskies begin.

I still kick myself for not writing down what it was.

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