Washington Residents Have More Booze-Buying Options, But Are Paying More For It

Until now, buying liquor in Washington state had meant you needed to go to a state-operated store. But that monopoly has now ended after residents voted to open up liquor sales to a wide range of retailers. Unfortunately, this now means that some folks are now paying a lot more to get tipsy.

SeattlePI.com looks at the wildly varying prices that have popped up in the few hours since the new rules went into effect.

For instance, while the $20 bottle of Absolut at Fred Meyer has a sticker price $3 less than what people would have paid at a state-operated store, but at the cash register, taxes bring that price up to almost $27, significantly more expensive than before.

See, while the state store prices included all taxes, stores are leaving those out of their sticker prices. So consumers in Washington have to figure the additional cost of a $2.83/liter tax and a 20.5% spirits tax before they know what the end result will be.

Additionally, retailers are trying to find a profitable price point, which may be difficult when they have to pay a 10% distributor fee and a 17% retail fee to the state.

It’s hoped that once retailers start tracking what the others are charging for similar products, the prices will come down and people won’t be spending more just to have more options for where to by their booze.

Liquor sticker shock: Why is booze so expensive? [SeattlePI.com]