I interacted with a bunch of Seattle area folk when I posted my introduction a month or so ago. I thought it may be fun to start a thread and get a discussion going about bourbon, rye, etc. in the Seattle area and the rest of Washington. I actually think it would be cool to have geographic-focused boards because often times I'll be reading threads and shaking my head, saying to myself, "They don't sell that here," or, "Their pricing is so much different than ours that it's just not the same thing." Additionally, I think that as the years go by we'll be talking more and more about craft bourbons, ryes, etc., many of which will only be widely available on a regional level.As my fellow Washingtonians can likely attest, being a bourbon lover in this state can be very challenging at times due to the old regulatory system, the change in regulations, and the current tax system and lack of retail power with distributors.
I'll get the ball rolling with a recap of some Seattle area liquor retailers. I'll preface my report, however, by saying that I do most of my buying online.
The best selections I've found are Wine World (Wallingford), Emerald City Spirits (Wallingford), Esquin (SODO), Ballard Liquor Store (Ballard) and BevMo! (Tukwila, Northgate, Bellevue and Tacoma). Wine World is outrageously expensive. The guys there are really nice but they can't compete on price yet. Emerald City Spirits, which is about .5 miles west on the same street (45th), has a surprisingly strong selection and some decent prices on certain stuff. The owners took over a horrible old state store and kept all the displays. The people behind Ballard Liquor Store did the same (they also own an old state store near University Village) and their selection is fairly strong and they had some decent pricing on certain items (EC12 for $32, tax included, which was lower than BevMo!) and horrible prices on other stuff (WLW12 for ~$55, tax included). Esquin has decent pricing but their selection can be spotty. BevMo! generally has a fairly strong selection and the pricing is decent for the area. BevMo! is also your best shot at getting Van Winkle and BTAC; I bought two GTS and one ER17 from the BevMo! in Tacoma.
Costco's selection is surprisingly poor and their prices are not anything special. I hate their Kirkland (Beam) bourbon, but to each their own. QFC and Fred Meyer (each owned by Kroger) sometimes have stuff on sale at decent prices and QFC sometimes has some wonky prices (Eagle Rare for $27 before tax at the store near me, which seems pretty low for this area). QFC will also do special orders if you speak to the liquor manager. The beauty of grocery stores is they don't really care - liquor is just another product and they'll happily show you the distributor price list and help you out. The Safeway stores I've been to generally have small selections and their pricing can decent. I saw 1792 Ridgemont Reserve on closeout at one near me for ~$28 before tax. It was ~$34 at BevMo! Metropolitan Market has an interesting selection and their pricing can sometimes be surprisingly good. Trader Joe's has a small selection and is typically pricing around the same mark as the regular grocery stores.
Walgreens carries liquor in many of their stores. At the one near me they've put the Jim Beam Black gift set (750ml plus two rocks glasses) on closeout for $17.99 before tax, and, the Maker's Mark gift set (750ml plus two waxed rocks glasses) on sale for $21.99 before tax.