On this liquor liberation day here in Washington State, the Stranger has done a brief rundown of where prices have gone from yesterday to today. Check it out at http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2012/06/01/so-did-liquor-prices-go-up.
OK, this is our bed, I guess we’ll have to lie in it. Today was the first day of liquor sales not run by the Washington State Liquor Control Board. I have lots of comments about how the state ran things. But, we don’t want to uncork that now. So, tonight, I showered and shaved to make myself presentable, and made my way up to our local mass grocery store chain to behold the newly-unveiled liquor selection.
For those of you who have not followed the battle in Washington State over liquor sales–one of the main objections to the bills put forward previously was that it would have reduced taxes on liquor, and thus state revenues. Many friends of mine cited this as the reason they just couldn’t approve the last ballot measures that attempted to end the WSLCB’s stranglehold on liquor sales.
So, the framers of I-1183 made sure to plug that hole with a tax big enough to ensure no loss in state revenues. It has evidently worked. We seem to have at least partially screwed ourselves.
With the demise of of the three tier system for liquor, the middle man’s cut is gone. That has reduced base prices on some things. But, on others, the prices have inexplicably gone up. For instance, Knob Creek is now going to be $44.99! And, there’s a 20% tax applied at the register! So, it’ll regularly set you back like $54. That’s just crazy. When the state was running things–literally yesterday–that bottle was like $35.
We’ll see how this all settles out. But, for tonight, I settled for a 1.75L bottle of Samuel Grant Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, the store’s brand basically. It was $22. That’s a great bargain, even with the added taxes. Turns out to be a mixing bourbon for sure, but a good deal.
So, tonight I’m tipping a glass to the end of WSLCB reign over the state’s liquor sales. It needed to end. Now, in follow up initiatives, we can work on reducing the taxes to a level where things return to reasonable. But, for now, we’ll need to savor every drop, cause it’s gonna cost us.
Cheers to all of you Washingtonians! Congratulations to all of you for voting for sanity in the state’s liquor system. It was long overdue.
Have a great weekend.
Sam Flynn’s motorcycle from Tron Legacy. Beautiful dark bulky thing.
I know, I know. Some of you are out there saying “I thought this was about Americana.” You’re right! Bourbonologist is an ode to bourbon–one of America’s great contributions to all that is great in the world. This is one of Italy’s contributions. Bourbonologist is here to point out that bourbon lives in the pantheon of the world’s most beautifully designed things. We’re writing an American story here, and placing bourbon in its rightful spot on the world stage.
So, what about the bike? Any other contenders? If you were buying bourbon a motorcycle, which one would it be?
On the evening of last year’s elections, when it became clear that the state of Washington would be exiting the liquor distribution business, Washington voters started leaving notes on the Facebook page of Beverages and More. Anyone who has visited one of their stores is instantly a fan. We speculated that BevMo might have been watching the election and planning their entry into Washington State. But, we can now confirm that BevMo! is in fact laying the groundwork to come to Washington! Liquor application permits for February (http://liq.wa.gov/lcbservices/LicensingInfo/EntireStateWeb.asp) show three permit applications from the Concord, California based company.
The Southcenter store may be as close as Seattle gets to a BevMo! as finding the kind of size these puppies require ain’t easy closer in. The site of the Southcenter location appears to be a giant Reclinerland store at this point. In some ways, I was thinking they’d end up in Lynnwood, which might still happen. Bellevue would be a likely candidate too.
What the heck’s a BevMo!? Oh, you’re in for a treat if you live in Washington. BevMo! sells liquor, beer, wine, glassware, party snacks, and more. It is nothing short of a party superstore. In Washington, I-1183 was all about Washington fighting for greater variety in our liquor selection. The addition of a BevMo! will do this for you. The bourbon aisle we all care so much about is a full aisle on a typical BevMo! So is the one for Gin, the one for Tequila etc. BevMo! usually stocks a huge selection of hard to find liqueurs as well. BevMo! has great wine sales at its California locations. This is all goodness. If you’ve never seen one of these babies, check out the photo on the right.
It will be interesting to see how this looks in Washington. The beer list at California locations is a worldwide collection. In Washington where microbrews reign supreme, will they carry more of a Northwest selection?
Consumers will love being able to get anything they want for their party or function all in one place. I certainly appreciated that when we shopped for a bourbon tasting in Vacaville, California last summer.
Information on awards and press recognition are attached to displays allowing you to make an educated choice even if you’re not a savvy consumer. Unfortunately, at times, the folks inside these stores are not all that knowledgable on all of the stock they carry. But, with such a wide selection that may be too high an expectation.
There is no information on when we might expect the stores to open. I think the date set forth in 1183 was June 1, 2012 for the first applicants to begin selling liquor. So, it may be a great summer for you Washington bourbon fans. Drop a note in the comments if you know any more than we do.
The Bourbonologist was in LA last week, and had a great time. We ran all over the west side–Hollywood, Beverly Hills, West LA, Santa Monica, and all the way down to Venice. Best of all we spent time with some great friends we haven’t seen in a while. There’s a lot to love about LA. There’s a vibrance about the place. It feels fresh, with bright colors and eclectic neighborhoods, the city is a constant hive of activity.
We watched crew setting up the Academy Awards right down the middle of Hollywood Boulevard. We were caught off guard by the Whitney Houston memorial outside the Beverly Hilton. We even got an awesome look at how movie scores come to fruition.
Unfortunately, we also managed to get caught in the legendary LA traffic more than once during our stay. At one point, we spent 45 minutes to go six blocks. Yikes. Fortunately, the incredible weather–in the 70s–made up for that.
So, what is Los Angeles’ bourbon persona? I don’t know really. The usual suspects kept popping up all over town. A stretch of Hollywood Boulevard was decorated with Jack Daniels banners on the lamp posts. Not knowing how to get off the beaten path made it difficult to find unusual selections. All pretty standard fare.
But as is always the case, a bottle shared with friends is always the best one in town. And the Bulleit pictured above, shared with Stu and Di was fantastic.
But, I am curious about the LA bourbon scene. So, help me out, LA. What did I miss? Where do you go for bourbon? Where is LA’s bourbon scene? Leave me help in the comments below.