Protect Our Communities Profits

Comments

1
You nailed it, Dominic!
2
Dom, once again, you forgot to THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN!!!!
3
this nation has its head firmly up its ass. it probably always will.
4
When it's corporations vs. corporations, do they belong in our state citizen initiative process at all? If either initiative succeeds it can only encourage more businesses who can't get their legislation through to try working us instead. Sucks.
5
It IS about protecting profits, but not solely in the way you point out. The question is whose profits? Yes, the big breweries compete nationally against hard alcohol for market share. For them, this campaign is part of a larger, nation-wide effort. Meanwhile, these initiatives are sponsored by nation big-box chains and billion dollar liquor distributors. Converting state revenue into millions in profit sounds pretty sweet to them.

BUT the large breweries aren't the only ones against this. Small breweries and wineries are against this for similar yet importantly different reasons. 1100 guts our state's three-tier laws, laws which create the "uneven playing field" that has allowed craft breweries to flourish here. The history of the beer industry has been one of consolidation and economies of scale. The laws post-prohibition were put in place to foster a competitive marketplace where, ideally, many different breweries would be able to operate at reasonable but not ridiculous profits, ensuring an orderly market and disincentive to engage in some of the excesses that led to Prohibition. The Craft Brewing rebirth exists entirely due to the laws that create a strictly regulated market for alcohol.

So it IS about protecting profits, in that we're likely to stunt the growth of local micros if those laws ("pay for play", volume discounts, bans on credit, etc.) are repealed. Yes we'll get privatized liquor, that's the angle Costco's riding on, but 1100 does far, far more insidious and systemic things to the beer and wine industries.

Meanwhile 1105 would roll back our state's fairly liberal self-distribution laws, forcing local wineries and breweries to go through third party distributors. You know, like the ones sponsoring the initiative. Many wineries ONLY self-distribute, and the drop in revenue would put many of them out of business. Hooray, liquor at the gas station at the cost of dozens of wineries and micro/nano-breweries.

NO on both 1100 and 1105. I'm all for privatization, but the initiatives go too far. Remember, pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered. Let the legislature do it in a reasonable, orderly fashion, not railroad local small producers by silently gutting our liquor laws under the guise of "You can buy cheap liquor at Costco! Whooo boy!"
6
It's not like the Stranger's profits were tied to the liquor industry and bars in any way ... hmm, I wonder who puts in all these ads in the stranger ...

Oh. My.
7
Somebody should go ask Sandeep Kaushik if he thinks of himself as a corporate tool or a defender of the children. And ask him to explain why. It would be neat if you got him on record saying beer is better for kids than liquor. And what's up with those stats from California, Sandeep?
8
But ... a better solution would be a Battle Royale with large metal bats and vodka-filled Chihulhy museum glass.

Now that would be entertaining. And noisy.

Bring extra bandages.
9
@7 kids like cider more.

crisper and doesn't get in the way of your gum.

plus, more alcohol.
10
Increasing availability of alcohol does increase teenage drinking -- this much has been proven time and time again in the research literature. It also increases crime (domestic violence, car accidents, DUI/DWI, gun violence, etc.), health problems (both morbidity and mortality), and more.

I can't muster up too much energy to care about who's paying for what. Costco is paying for I-1100 to pass, the beer industry is paying for it not to. Big whoop.

What ought to matter here is less who's sending money where and more what the actual impact of the initiatives would be on financial and societal issues in our communities. The research on this couldn't be more clear: http://lib.adai.washington.edu/resourceb…
11
Oh, that's just a load of BS, @5. Colorado has an extremely thriving craft beer industry without your ridiculous laws. Don't you people ever look at what other states are doing?
12
The laws post-prohibition were put in place to foster a competitive marketplace


What a load of horse manure.
13
@5 ends on a hilarious note. "Let the legislature do it"

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...

Watching the legislature release their stranglehold on anything would be a miracle.

14
@10,

Your link doesn't work. Very convenient.
15
Really nice post; that's rather damning evidence.
16
@5 sez "The Craft Brewing rebirth exists entirely due to the laws that create a strictly regulated market for alcohol."

Which is funny, because, you know, the craft brewing rebirth DIDN'T START HERE. Maybe you're one of those people who think Starbucks invented espresso, too? The real action was happening in places like California (there's a brewpub in Hayward that predates anything in Seattle) and Boston. And the rebirth came about because of a very specific LIBERALIZATION of federal rules that previously had made small independent brewing operations illegal.

So you're wrong.

There is of course an obvious way to control sales to underage people: ramp up the fines. If the fine for getting caught was $50,000, stores would pay attention to it.

Sad to see Sandeep Kaushik turning into such an obvious whore. He'll be shilling for Republicans next.
17
Here's the thing, I don't think everyone who is yelling "look at other states" realizes (or are pretending not to notice), these two initiatives gut Washington states liquor laws above and beyond anything happening in other states. Since when are Stranger readers so pro multimillion dollar corporations, 'cause they're the only ones who are going to win here
18
Fnarf for the obvious insightful win - Sandeep will be working for the RNC within the next two years.
19
Thanks for arguing nothing but semantics Fnarf. It just so happens that California has things like tied-house laws on the books which help promote their craft brewing industry....things that 1100 gets rid of in the fine print for the sake of "lets buy booze from a gas station"
20
Good article.

Hopefully 1100 passes and Washington will actually be a leader for once. Be awesome if we strike down our liquor prohibitions in the same election that California does the same to pot.
21
A two word reason to vote against both initiatives:
Slotting Fee

A slotting fee, slotting allowance, pay-to-stay, or fixed trade spending is a fee charged to produce companies or manufacturers by supermarket distributors (retailers) in order to have their product placed on their shelves. The fee varies greatly depending on the product, manufacturer, and market conditions. For a new product, the initial slotting fee may be approximately $25,000 per item in a regional cluster of stores, but may be as high as $250,000 in high-demand markets.

In addition to slotting fees, retailers may also charge promotional, advertising and stocking fees. According to an FTC study, the practice is "widespread" in the supermarket industry. Many grocers earn more profit from agreeing to carry a manufacturer's product than they do from actually selling the product to retail consumers. According to retailers, fees serve to efficiently allocate scarce retail shelf space, help balance the risk of new product failure between manufacturers and retailers, help manufacturers signal private information about potential success of new products, and serve to widen retail distribution for manufacturers by mitigating retail competition.
Vendors charge that slotting fees are a move by the grocery industry to profit at their suppliers' expense.

Some companies argue that slotting fees are unethical as they create a barrier to entry for smaller businesses that do not have the cash flow to compete with large companies.

Slotting fees are why every grocery chain you walk in has the same selection coast to coast. Slotting fees are why the beer and wine selection at Safeway/QFC/Fred Meyer/et al are full of corporate mass producers like Corona, Mondavi, Santa Margherita, Budweiser, etc., and nearly completely devoid of regional, small producers. 1100 will exacerbate this situation, by reducing the opportunities of small producers to get to the shelves of even those stores that do not accept slotting fees. ( local co-ops, Whole Foods Market, and small independent stores.)

Bottom line is that both of these initiatives are deeply flawed, and should be rejected.
22
@21,

Have you noticed that the state-run liquor stores have shit selection? It's already impossible to find esoteric hard liquors thanks to the fucking WSLCB, and I fail to see how the situation could get worse vis-a-vis wine and beer in supermarkets. And do you care to prove how it will get "harder" for small producers to get their stuff stocked at Whole Foods or co-ops, or are you just counting on us accepting that as fact?
23
Hey @22, What makes you think this will change, I've been to plenty of private stores in other states that have shit selection. Have you ever asked at your local if they can get X product for you?
24
But private liquor stores in California do have a better selection than WA sate stores. You can see it with your own eyes.

QED.
25
@24 I've been to several that have WORSE selection than my local WSLCB store. Implying that the selection at any single store determines the selection at all is just a bad argument

26
@14, Huh, the link works fine for me and others I've tested it on. Try going here: http://lib.adai.washington.edu/resourceb… and look under "Special Topics" for the one on Privatization. If the PDF still won't open when you click, try right-clicking and saving the file to your desktop and opening it from there. It certainly wouldn't be "convenient" if the link didn't work -- I spent a gazillion hours putting that thing together!
27
@23,

Yeah, because I really want to have to order a CASE of something. By your logic, since Safeway stocks crappy wine, it's impossible to find good wine anywhere.

Except, of course, for the numerous small wine shops in this city.

Any Safeway in California has a better liquor selection than a Washington state liquor store.
28
Doesn't anyone else find it odd that corporations are spending millions of dollars to convince us that the government employees who work at state liquor stores are hard-working conscientious officials who vigilantly protect our youth, whereas heartless money-grubbing small business owners stand ready to ruin young lives so they can make a quick buck? If socialized retail distribution is so good, maybe we should socialize production and wholesale distribution as well? Just sayin'.
29
@28 oily-gin for all!
30
It's not small business owners that are the problem when it comes to checking ID, @28. It's big business owners like grocery stores, convenience stores, and the like. And this is, in fact, true -- there's research to support it. State liquor stores do a far better job of checking ID than grocery stores and convenience stores. Even if the research weren't out there to support this, though, it seems pretty obvious to me: liquor store staff is trained better and only doing one task.

What I find weird is people being disgusted by the corporate funding of the NO campaigns. But seem totally fine with the corporate funding of the YES campaigns. Is it because the YES funders are being more open about the fact they just want to make lots of money?
31
@30

Not everyone needs to dumb down every issue into a David and Goliath fairy tale. Maybe this thing is about something else.
32
@22 - If the opponents are right and this puts the smaller distributors out of business, than yes, it will be harder to stock small producers. As some one in the retail wine and beer business, I can tell you that if you are a small producer who wants distribution, the big boys aren't going to return your calls. There is no way you are going to charm your way into their catalogues.
Trust me, as quirky and stupid as the current rules are, there really is no upside to either of these two initiatives. On a national level, we have seen what happens when we let bankers write their own regulations - why the fuck would we extend that corporate gift to any other industry? It is exceedingly stupid to give business the power to write the rules - you and I will lose, and they will gain. Why and when did the Stranger crowd become so pro-corporate?
33
3 things to consider...as a recent former Minnesota resident, you cannot buy wine, over 3.2% beer or liquor anyplace but a liquor store. It can be inconvenient, but it works. The liquor stores are privately owned and very competitive, so instead of costing $30 for a bottle of decent vodka in WA, it's easily under $20 (usually $15 - 17 on sale) in MN.
Next, the State run monopoly's 52% markup feeds it's own employees and special interests. It's about government jobs and political capitol, not providing a service while protecting our kids.
Third, the beer and wine industries want our kids drinking their products, not liquor. In MN, since all alcoholic beverages come from the same source, beer and wine are still the beverage of choice (mainly beer) of those under age. Regardless, if kids want whatever...they will find a way to get it...period.
34
Costco is paying for the yes campaign. Why is that not in your article. The system has many flaws but lets not make it worse by passing Costco1100.
35
I THINK THAT IF THE STATE WOULD SPEND MORE TIME ON ENFORCING STRICTER LAWS FOR DRUNK DRIVERS AND QUIT ALLOWING THESE DRIVERS TO MAKE PLEAS AND HOLD THEM MORE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR NEGLIGENCE WE WOULD ALL BENEFIT, IF THEY WOULD GO A STEP FURTHER AND ENSURE THAT THEY NOT ONLY DUE TIME BUT ENFORCE THE FACT THE RESTITUTION IS PAID , AS IT STANDS NOW THERE ARE SO MANY WHO OWE THE COURTS MONEY AS WELL AS THEIR VICTIMS AND IT IS NOT BEING ENFORCED,THIS IS WHERE THE MONEY SHOULD BE SPENT AS IF THERE WERE STRICTER PENALTIES AND THEY WERE MADE TO PAY THEIR RESTITUTION OR GO BACK TO JAIL PERHAPS WE WOULD NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT WHERE LIQUOR WAS BEING SOLD AS HOPEFULLY THEY WOULD THINK TWICE BEFORE DRINKING AND DRIVING IF THERE WERE STRICTER PENALTY'S, IT IS SAD TO THINK THAT THEIR ARE SO MANY DRUNK DRIVERS WHO HAVE APPEARED IN A COURT ROOM ONLY TO GET A SLAP ON THE WRIST AND BE ABLE TO GET BACK IN A CAR AND DO IT AGAIN WE ARE NOT WINNING ON PROTECTING OUR KIDS IN THIS CASE AS WE ARE PUTTING DRUNKS BACK ON THE ROAD SO IT DOESNT MATTER WHERE THEY BUY IT IF LAWS ARE NOT BEING ENFORCED