The Washington Retail Association is proud to endorse a “yes” vote on Initiative 1183. By getting the state out of the liquor sales business, the initiative creates important new opportunities for retailers by allowing qualifying retail stores to sell liquor.

1183 is a responsible plan to end Washington’s outdated monopoly on liquor sales and distribution, and lets consumers buy liquor at licensed grocery and retail stores, just like consumers do in most other states.

Under 1183, licensed retail and grocery stores will add liquor to their other grocery offerings. This provides a new source of revenue for retailers and increases convenience for shoppers. 1183 also eliminates outdated restrictions on the wholesale distribution and pricing of wine, which means lower costs for consumers, wineries and restaurants.

It’s clear that 1183 is good for local businesses and Washington consumers. And, the facts show that 1183 is good for local communities and Washington taxpayers.

The Office of Financial Management estimates that 1183 will provide $186 million to $227 million in new revenues for local governments and $216 million to $253 million for the state government over six years. 1183 also dedicates a portion of these new revenues to local public safety programs to increase funding for local police, fire, and emergency services in communities across our state.

1183 increases revenues while reducing state government costs. Eliminating the costly state liquor store system will save Washington taxpayers nearly $100 million a year and focus the state Liquor Control Board on regulation and enforcement, which is a core function of government.  Selling liquor is not.

Under 1183, a grocery or retail store must have at least 10,000 square feet of fully enclosed retail space in order to be eligible for a license to sell liquor.  The initiative prevents liquor sales at gas stations and small convenience stores.  It also ensures that local communities will have input before a liquor license is issued. Additionally, retail stores must demonstrate that they can effectively prevent sales to minors before being granted a liquor license.

Retailers are ready and willing to accept the responsibility of selling liquor. We’re already experienced in ensuring that only customers of legal age buy the beer and wine we sell. We are prepared to pay a percentage of liquor sales in annual license fees that will support law enforcement and other public safety programs throughout our state. We are set to comply with the additional training and supervisory responsibilities mandated by 1183. And, we know that 1183 doubles fines and license suspension penalties for selling liquor to minors.

Initiative 1183 clearly benefits taxpayers and consumers. It gets the state out of the liquor business and focuses more resources where they belong – on enforcing tougher liquor laws. It creates a competitive marketplace that will provide greater selection and savings for consumers while enhancing business opportunities for local retailers and wineries. And, it saves taxpayers money by eliminating the huge costs of the state’s outdated government liquor store system.

Support for a “yes” vote on 1183 continues to grow throughout our state. We are joined by a number of statewide organizations in endorsing 1183 including the Northwest Grocery Association, the Washington Restaurant Association and Family Wineries of Washington. These four groups alone represent more than 16,000 local businesses. YES on 1183 also has earned the support of law enforcement and public safety officials, civic leaders and consumers across our state.

These organizations, businesses and individuals all agree that YES on 1183 means less government waste, more competitive prices and more funds for vital public services – without raising taxes.

Please join us as a member of The YES on 1183 coalition. Joining online at is an easy and important way to show your support.


Jan Teague is President and CEO of the Washington Retail Association, which represents 2800 storefronts across the state. Named a “Woman of Influence” by the South Sound Business Examiner, she is a Board member of the Association of Washington Business, a member of the Coalition of Washington Business Organizations and was 2010 President of the State Council of Retail Associations.


[photo credit: tclarkcreations]