Posted from the Dry Fly Distilling blog:
A couple of days ago the Liquor Board was forced to increase the markup on distilled spirits from 39.2% to 51.9% making our state the highest priced state for spirits in the United States. This was a result of a move by our state government to capture $78 million from the liquor revolving fund ($ used to run the liquor system.) This capture skirted proposition 960 which does not allow for new taxes unless the measure is passed by a super majority or is put to a vote of the people. So in other words, this is a backhanded way to tax the public. Washington now has taxes/markup TWICE the average of all control states, and SIX times that of private three tier systems, giving a complete new meaning to the tax and spend term. Two other considerations – the Washington Restaurant Association estimates 1300 jobs will be lost as a result of this increase. Also, DISCUS estimates that decreases in volume due to consumer buy down, and purchases being moved across state lines will reduce the income from the increase to $50 million – some $30 million short of the objective. The result of this loss in revenue will result in . . . . . wait for it . . . . another price increase next year to make up for the shortcoming. This will force small distillers to make a choice – allow the price of their products to increase per the changes, or lower the sales price to the state, thus lowering income, to allow for the same shelf price. In short, sales revenue per bottle from Washington could become lower than all other states, in theory forcing Washington distillers to pursue business outside the state as it would become more profitable. Soon Washington will surpass the the 168% average markup in Canada, making us the highest priced spirits in north America. A lofty, but obtainable goal.
It looks as if my desire to visit Portland now has at least one more reason.