The liquor initiative is all I hear about. If you watch television ever, you are bound to see an ad supporting I-1183 followed immediately by an ad opposing I-1183. Costco has dumped more than $22 Million into its support for the initiative! Its pandemonium.
Last year, I really got into the discussion, posting regularly here on the Brewery Law Blog. But last year, the craft brewer was heavily involved. The Washington Beer Commission came out strongly opposing I-1100 with concerns that complete deregulation would harm their ability to earn a reasonable margin. But this year, the WBC has been silent.
Someone that has been lost in the shuffle of big corps trying to gain market share and public interest groups lobbying for safety: craft distillers. Yesterday, the Seattle Weekly ran an interview with Steven Stone. Steven is the owner of Seattle’s first craft distiller, Sound Spirits, located on 15th Avenue. In addition to making an unbelievable craft gin (get the oak-rested one), Steven has always been willing to talk about his industry. Here, he talks about the burden set on craft distillers:
“Most of the small guys, we’ve tended to stay out of it,” says Steven Stone, founder of Sound Spirits in Interbay. “If we come out for it, we’ve pissed off the only retailers of our products. And if you come out against it, you might upset the public.” Stone says that when he criticized an earlier liquor-privatization measure on hisFacebook page, he was called a communist.
Check out the full article by following this link. I have always thought that the craft distilling industry might benefit from the brewery/winery model, that allows for direct sales to the public. Steven correctly points out that grocery store competition will be fierce, but with a wider market, I am sure that craft distillers will see sales pick up.