Restaurants in Washington Are Hopeful for a Free-Market System for Spirit Sales

OLYMPIA, Wash. ( The Washington Restaurant Association today announced their strong support of liquor privatization initiative 1100. The initiative would create a more competitive free-market system for the sale and distribution of spirits, beer and wine which will provide more choices for consumers and businesses. If passed, the initiative would allow the private sector, including retailers and existing beer and wine distributors, the opportunity to sell spirits.

“Washington restaurants employ more than 185,000 people in the state. A competitive market for spirits, beer and wine will greatly assist our ability to retain and grow jobs in restaurants for Washington,” said Bruce Beckett, WRA director of government affairs. “Our members are entrepreneurs and support a system that is more competitive and promotes choices.”

Washington collects more dollars per gallon of alcohol sold than any other state in the nation. I-1100 would allow consumers, including restaurants, to choose their suppliers with prices set in the competitive marketplace. Because Washington is a liquor control state restaurants are entirely dependent on the state for a supply of spirits to serve their customers.

According to Beckett there are other initiatives that have been filed to privatize liquor sales but I-1100 is the only one that allows a competitive market to fully function. The other initiatives maintain decades old policies that prohibit retail to retail sales and do not allow quantity discount pricing.

“We believe that I-1100 will bring about a more competitive market for spirits, beer and wine in Washington and that it is appropriate for the voters to consider this option in the upcoming General Election,” said Beckett.

For more information on the I-1100, visit

The Washington Restaurant Association, in its 81st year, is the leading business association for the restaurant industry — the largest private employer in the state with an average workforce of nearly 200,000 in 2009. In Washington, the more than 12,500 restaurants annually generate $12.2 billion to the state economy and contribute $635 million in state taxes. Washington restaurants are vital to our economy, community and careers.