Washington State Liquor Control Board Proposes New Restrictions on Liquor Prices

Washington State Liquor Control Board Proposes New Restrictions on Liquor Prices https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/News_liquor875632892.jpg

Board moves to prohibit pricing options for spirits

On Wednesday, Nov. 6, the Washington State Liquor Control Board moved forward with a proposal to restrict competitive pricing in the liquor market.

Last year, the Board received a complaint from formerly state run liquor stores claiming distributors had been offering cheaper prices for restaurants and bars.  They requested the board prohibit this practice and force wholesalers to offer the same price for both restaurants and retailers.

Despite the fact the law encourages competition in the private market for spirits, allowing businesses to enter into voluntary agreements with whichever supplier they choose, the board has proposed the following changes:

  • Prohibit “channel pricing” –The new rules would ban an option that allows brands to compete for restaurants and bars business by providing discounts.
  •  Prohibit cumulative discounts –The new restrictions would prevent restaurants and suppliers from voluntarily agreeing to negotiate price based on the estimated amount of product to be purchased over a period of time.
  • Prohibit family plan pricing – The new rules would cut discounts based on the percentage of a supplier’s product that makes up a restaurant owner’s bar.
  • Prohibit combined order discounts – Finally the WAC’s would prohibit restaurants and bars from collectively pooling their orders and negotiating volume discounts, if they are not using a central warehouse.

The Washington Restaurant Association has urged the board to reconsider its action as it exceeds their authority.  The request, unfortunately, was not considered and the Board will continue to take public comment until the end of April on this issue.

To find out how you can help prevent the Board’s action on this issue, please contact Julia Clark at juliac@warestaurant.org for more information.

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