Washington State Liquor Fees Too High, Most Say

State liquor industry at odds over fees

Retailers contend distributors are getting an unfair advantage in selling to restaurants and bars; distributors point to $150 million in fees they agree to pay the state in the first-year of privatization.

Seattle Times business reporter


The private-run market for spirits created by I-1183 is only 2 years old, but it has spawned its fair share of legal wrangling as stakeholders seek to improve their odds in the new business landscape.

Restaurants and retailers, including Costco Wholesale, have been clamoring for a break from the 17 percent fee on gross spirits revenues that stores must pay when selling to eateries and bars.

They argue that distributors get an unfair advantage because they’re beholden to a lower, 10 percent fee and can offer restaurants and bars lower prices. Moreover, restaurants could benefit from the sheer pricing power enjoyed by giants such as Costco, they say. “We could pass those savings on to the little guys,” said Costco general counsel John Sullivan.

But distributors say they agreed to pay the state $150 million in fees during the first year of privatization and that grocery stores “want the same privilege for nothing,” said John Guadnola, a spokesman for Washington spirit distributors.

State lawmakers gave small liquor stores a break from the 17 percent fee, but a respite for the larger grocers became stalled in the Legislature.

In addition, owners of former state stores say they’re being crushed by a distributor practice that’s known as “channel pricing.”

That means that distributors can offer discounts to restaurants and bars, even as they sell to retailers at higher prices. Last year the Washington State Liquor Control Board sided with the liquor-store owners, but in early June it reversed its decision. The rules have not been adopted, and a public hearing is scheduled for next month.

Ángel González: 206-464-2250 or [email protected] On Twitter: @gonzalezseattle



If you are looking to obtain your Alcohol Server Permit is Washington State, here are some of the ways students get to us in an organic search. Washington State passed a law in 1995 requiring all folks employed in the food and beverage industry in Washington State to have an alcohol license to serve intoxicating beverages to the public. ALES has been providing that alcohol server training and alcohol server education in Washington State since that legislation passed in 1995. We have had an alcohol training class weekly in Seattle, Vancouver, Olympia, Spokane, Chehalis/Centrailia, Everett and everywhere in between ! We have striven to make our alcohol class approachable, convenient, and painless. We realize it is a mandatory training and that folks need it in order to have a job and work at their job legally. So we, for over 15 years, have diligently provided the clearest and most concise route to receiving your alcohol training and your alcohol server education to obtain your Mandatory Alcohol Server Training (MAST) Permit. We are the happy folks, the ones who have spent years in the front of the house, behind the house and behind the wood. We are pro business and pro server.
Here are some the words folks type into Google to find us. But you can skip this entry and read the ones before and after – they have the information that is helpful to you as a server:

alcohol class, alcohol server training, alcohol servers training, alcohol training, ales, liquor license, alcohol permit, alcohol permits, alcohol server, alcohol card, liquor card, liquor class, alcohol server education, liquor classes, MAST Permit, MAST Permits, server alcohol license, mast training, ales classes, on-line alcohol class, online alcohol classes online, permits online, permits on-line, alcohol server permits online, alcohol servers permit Washington, WA online alcohol Permit class, alcohol permit, alcohol license, liquor permit, washington liquor permit, alcohol handlers permit Washington, ALES or ales alcohol training, aleswa.com, alcohol permit washington, washington liquor server permit, liquor permit, liquor permits, server permit, server permits, washington online alcohol permit class, alcohol handlers permit Washington, alcohol handler permits Washington, washington liquor permit, server classes, mixologist certification, alcohol certification, Class 12 Permit, class 12 mixologist Permit, Class 13 Permit, Class 13 Servers Permit, alcohol server permit, alcohol server permit washington, alcohol server permits for Washington