TLP: I Guess We'd See How Big A Booze Bottle Can Be
Costco wants to capitalize on the tendency of Americans to want more more MORE by seeking to change liquor distribution laws and gain the opportunity to sell booze in the same way it hawks triple-packs of Peter Pan, giant tubs of ice cream and an annual supply of Charmin (provided you don't also score the gallon jug of prune juice.)
Costco Wholesale Corp., eager to sell alcohol as freely as it does toilet paper, is backing an effort to shake up liquor distribution laws in its home state of Washington.The initiative Costco is backing would undo what the company calls "antiquated" rules that date to the end of Prohibition. Opponents of the change say those rules discourage, ahem, overconsumption. Anybody who wants to get fucked up is going to get fucked up. They can pick booze or they can pick Bud. This is pretty much a matter of price and choice and control.
The giant warehouse club has thrown its weight behind a proposed ballot initiative that would eliminate numerous post-Prohibition-era rules and privatize retail liquor sales in the state.
The effort is being closely watched by producers, distributors and retailers of beer, wine and liquor across the U.S. because it would mark the most sweeping overhaul of any state's alcohol trade regulations in years and could presage similar proposals in other states. Distributors, for their part, object to the proposed changes, because it would threaten their protected position as middlemen.
Washington is one of about 20 states that maintain some form of a liquor monopoly. Costco wants that to change, and wants businesses to have more freedom in the way they buy and sell hard liquor as well as wine and beer. The discount-retail giant, based in Issaquah, Wash., went so far as to have its own employees collect signatures from customers in its warehouse stores to get an initiative put on the November ballot. Consumers would benefit by paying lower prices, Costco says.
Costco essentially wants to be able to do with alcoholic beverages what it and other big-box retailers do with other consumer products. It wants, for instance, to be able to buy alcohol in large volumes at a discount and take delivery of these orders at a central warehouse. For now, it must make separate purchases of wine and beer for each of its stores, and pay distributors the same price that a corner grocery store pays.
I've been to Costco and seen my fellow shoppers. Concerns about overconsumption might be more appropriate in the bakery.