If you want to see what the anti-liquor initiative campaign is all about, follow the money.
Last week, Cienna reported that national beer and wine wholesalers groups dropped $2 million to oppose the two initiatives that would end the state monopoly on liquor sales and distribution. But that wasn't enough. According to the latest reports from the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association have since contributed another $2 million, making "Protect Our Communities" the most funded anti-initiative campaign this year.
The leading arguments we hear against I-1100 and I-1105 are that they will cost the state precious revenue, they will expose kids to the harms of alcohol, or the campaign zinger that we need to "stand up to big business." But that clearly isn't what this is about. The Beer Institute is big business (the chairman of the Beer Institute Board is also the president of Anheuser-Busch). The message seems pretty clear: This campaign is first and foremost about protecting the beer industry (the campaign basically admitted as much last week). The beer industry knows that some shoppers will skip those long, refrigerated beer coolers at the grocery store and buy makings for delicious gin and tonics instead. And if you're in the mood to make a gin and tonic—or have some wine or a beer—you should be able shop for it at the damn grocery store.