WASHINGTON'S LEADING BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Stores and state liquor board get ready

Passage of Initiative 1183 presages a liquor 'land rush.'

Within hours of the early results showing that Initiative 1183 would be approved, retailers and entrepreneurs put their toes on the starting line of the Washington equivalent of the Oklahoma land rush, and the state Liquor Control Board issued its first Liquor Sales Transition webpage announcing a timeline for implementation of the initiative and an outline of the new liquor licenses that can be applied for early next year.

Safeway Stores announced that it expects to sell liquor at all of its 155 Washington stores, and a Trader Joe’s spokesperson thought the chain would sell distilled spirits at most or all of its stores in the state, according to a Seattle Times report.

Liquor Board spokesman Brian Smith says he did not believe the board would require stores to set up separate, secure retailing areas for the sale of spirits, such as can be found in Washington, D.C., Safeway stores. Smith did say that paper applications for the new “spirits distributor” and “spirits retail” licenses would be available in early January. Distributors and retailers would be authorized to begin operations on or after March 1 and June 1, 2012, respectively.

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