Impending liquor store closures = cheap wine for consumers



TACOMA, Washington - The big question for Washington liquor store managers is how to get rid of all their wine before the stores shut down for good.

The state will be out of the liquor business as of June 1, meaning stores have to sell of their wine before then. While it could be a problem for them, customers may benefit.

“Once, I used to have half of this wine; now look – that’s all that I’ve got,” said Imelda Hamilton, motioning to the nearly vacant wine area of the stock room in her Tacoma liquor store. “Most of my customers come in here asking for wine that they like to buy and we don’t have it anymore.”

Liquor is still being supplied to the stores on a buy back agreement, but wine distributors told the Liquor Control Board they wouldn’t agree to take back unsold wine, and some stopped deliveries altogether.

“So we’re going to run out of wine,” Hamilton said.

Wine sales make up only 3 percent of state sales. It can also be purchased at grocery and convenience stores.

State liquor stores are doing their best to mark down prices and sell off what they have now so they don’t have to figure out what to do with their wine in June.

For consumers, that means great prices.

“So far, prices are good,” Dentisha Washington said. “I have a bottle of chardonnay that’s three bucks – you can’t beat it.”

Once the wines are gone, however, they’re gone for good.