First Elway Polls Show a Split on Washington Liquor Initiative

Polling on I-1183 has begun


A couple of weeks back, I dropped a line on Washington’s newest liquor initiative. The results of the first Elway Poll have already surfaced and my expectations have prove true: Washingtonians are split right down the middle.


Washington’s Initiative 1183 (I-1183) calls for privatization of the liquor system, relaxation of beer and wine sales restrictions and licensing of private vendors. Last year, I-1100 lost by a narrow margin (53-47). It appears that I-1183 will be a hard fought battle for both sides of the initiative.



According to the Seattle Times, the Elway Poll showed that 50% support it, 38% oppose it and 12% are undecided. Well, it cannot get much closer that that. Each of the voters in that 12% undecided group can get ready for a firestorm of political ads and campaigns to help sway your vote.


The newest article also shows that the opposition group, Protect Our Communities, recently received $4 Million in funds. Those coffers will allow the opposition to go toe to toe with big spender Costco, who has pushed the passage of this initiative.


Stay tuned for more. This won’t go away until November; or as last year showed, until it actually passes.



Read More

I-1183 Puts Liquor Privatization Talk Back On The Table

Liquor privatization is back, with a vengeance.


***This was originally published on, a Seattle based beer blog edited by my wonderful wife. I provide legal commentary to throughout the year.***


We can all curse it – we can all love it. The fact of the matter is that another voter initiative is here and its hoping to break liquor from the controls of the state. Will this new one be bringing additional changes to the current alcohol regulation scheme? Yep.


Last year, I-1100 took Washington by storm. That voter initiative that was funded primarily by Costco and was the topic of conversation on this blog and many others for a matter of months. In the end, I-1100 lost by a fairly narrow margin of 53-47.


This year’s initiative took a different approach – scale back the “open market” approach, raise money for the state and file late.


I-1100 was an open market proposal aimed at pulling all sales restrictions on all products. That proposal drew the ire of the Washington Beer Commission who feared wholesale discounts for out of state producers, less shelf space and the emergence of tied-houses. I-1183 heard that disdain and decided not to mess with prohibitions against shelving deals, credit sales and other wholesale discounts.  Convenience stores are not going to have the opportunity to sell liquor under the new initiative – only specially licensed stores with adequate (10,000) square footage.


The Washington Beer Commission has not made their position public, but I suspect they will have a different response. The law simply doesn’t raise as many flags as last year’s proposal.


Read More