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  1. #41
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    Spokane, WA
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    Re: Seattle and Washington Area Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by T47 View Post
    I never thought I would miss the State Stores, but the reality is that the selection is poorer and the prices are higher. Philosophically I think it's a good thing for the State to be out of the Business and maybe one day I will see the benefit as a consumer.
    .
    I agree with you. Selection went down the toilet and prices went up. However, over here in Spokane a Total Wine and More opened up and took care of those two problems rather nicely.
    Last edited by SWC; 01-24-2013 at 09:14.

  2. #42
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    Jackson, MS
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    Re: Seattle and Washington Area Thread

    Well, that's a promising sign. As a general rule I think it's better the Stat's just collect the taxes and keep their noses out of the liquor business.

  3. #43
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    Seattle and Washington Area Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by p_elliott View Post
    Is the state still the distributor or do you have independent distributors? Iowa got out of the Liquor store business about 20 years ago but they are the only distributor in the state so nothing changed as far as selection.
    I suppose our story is similar to yours - we traded out the state monopoly for a duopoly (with separate portfolios). Effectively it's a monopoly and with the higher end whiskies, selection and availability has greatly suffered.

    With notable exceptions, prices have been higher due to the distributors jacking up the prices (as the tax rates have changed very little from when the state was running everything).
    Last edited by ChainWhip; 01-24-2013 at 10:37.
    ¡Geaux Tigers! - ¡Visca el Barça!

    "Really though, my hands are sore. The tool was doing it's thing with a flex hose." -Barrel_Proof

  4. #44
    Novice
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    Jun 2012
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    Seattle
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    11

    Re: Seattle and Washington Area Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by SWC View Post
    I agree with you. Selection went down the toilet and prices went up. However, over here in Spokane a Total Wine and More opened up and took care of those two problems rather nicely.
    There are more products available in the State than ever before, whether stores bring them in or not is up to them, restaurants definitely are taking advantage of the greater selection.

  5. #45
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    Seattle and Washington Area Thread

    I'd agree that selection is better except for higher end whiskies.
    ¡Geaux Tigers! - ¡Visca el Barça!

    "Really though, my hands are sore. The tool was doing it's thing with a flex hose." -Barrel_Proof

  6. #46
    Novice
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    Jun 2012
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    Seattle
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    Re: Seattle and Washington Area Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ChainWhip View Post
    I'd agree that selection is better except for higher end whiskies.
    More there too, but restaurants are getting to them first as a lot have buyers who know what to look for vs. newer spirits store owners focusing on the top sellers across the US. They will develop better selections, the State stores were expensive to take over, so they are more worried about recouping their bid right now.

    Total has raised the bar, as has BevMo. Private stores will catch up.
    ITB - Distributor

  7. #47
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    Re: Seattle and Washington Area Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by BourbonShill View Post
    More there too, but restaurants are getting to them first as a lot have buyers who know what to look for vs. newer spirits store owners focusing on the top sellers across the US.
    I think the limited editions (BTAC, VW, Diageo, etc.,) are all really difficult/impossible to find in this state (more than usual).

  8. #48
    Advanced Taster
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    Nov 2012
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    Seattle, WA
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    Re: Seattle and Washington Area Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ChainWhip View Post
    I think the limited editions (BTAC, VW, Diageo, etc.,) are all really difficult/impossible to find in this state (more than usual).
    PHC 2012 (Master of Mashbills) has suddenly popped up in some bars (9 Million in Unmarked Bills in Fremont and Sun Liquor Distillery on Capitol Hill, among others). The only time I've seen this on the shelf in the area is when BevMo! opened their Bellevue store a few months ago (and I watched as a guy was having the last one pulled from the "high-end" case).

    On this note, the presence of BevMo! and Total is a positive if you're trying to get your hands on the limited edition stuff. Their corporate policies seem to prohibit lists and pre-sales so you don't have to be a "top customer" to get a shot at getting them and there's not the same type of price-gouging that smaller stores often engage in. I bought two GTS and one ER17 at BevMo! in Tacoma a few months ago.

  9. #49
    Advanced Taster
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    Seattle, WA
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    Re: Seattle and Washington Area Thread

    Total in Tukwila has a bunch of JPS18 and EC20. They also had W12 if anyone is looking for it.

  10. #50
    Enthusiast
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    Re: Seattle and Washington Area Thread

    Lots of interesting conversation here about selection, prices and availability. I have spent a lot of time trying to understand what I should be doing, as a “normal” consumer, to at least have a chance at the limited bourbons out there, especially since the massive changes last June. The state system had to go, but one good side effect is that it was predictable. Now it’s a free for all.

    As others have pointed out, the distributors in Washington State are the main cause of our problems; they restrict sales to preferred customers (bars and restaurants), lie about stock and maintain separate price lists for on-premise and off-premise buyers to discourage retail sales for some products.

    Yet it’s hard to blame distributors for taking advantage of currently legal business practices that, while detrimental to whisky buyers, weren’t accounted for in the new liquor laws. The Liquor Control Board policies need to be tweaked a bit to rectify the anti-competitive nature of the current environment.

    What I don’t understand is why producers still use exclusive distributors in the state. It made sense when there was only one buyer (the state), but not any longer. If I was a producer that wanted the best representation to consumers, I would use multiple distributors to encourage competition on value added services and squeeze their margins as much as possible to provide the lowest cost (and subsequently more volume) to buyers and ultimately consumers.

    My primary annoyance is that the specialty stores (in the state system) used to be the best resource for knowledge and availability of the more collectible spirits. Now is appears that the specialty stores are at the bottom of the food chain and the big retailers (Total, BevMo) get most of the off-premise allocation, yet they are terrible at catering to the enthusiasts who walk past the pallets of $8.99 vodka jugs in search for quality products.

    I know that EC20 and JPS18 have spotty availability, but the Total Wine Bellevue store just tells me the stock comes and goes and doesn’t care who buys it. No way to notify interested customers, no intention of helping beyond trying to always upsell their “Spirits Direct” selections which are likely a much higher margin sale. And BevMo’s selection is just poor for high end products.

 

 

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