State-run liquor stores now have uniform, expanded operating hours

Standardized hours are one of several convenience initiatives funded in 2011-13 Budget

OLYMPIA – Effective July 1, all state liquor stores will have the same hours of operation.* All state stores will also be open additional hours for added convenience. Currently, operating hours vary by location at the 166 state stores. The new state store hours will be:

Monday – Thursday: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Sunday: 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (58 state stores open on Sunday)

“Having standard, reliable hours will be a significant improvement in convenience for our customers,” said Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) Chair Sharon Foster. “It took an investment by the Governor and Legislature to make it possible. We are excited and thankful to have this opportunity and look forward to providing this service to our customers and returning additional revenue as well.”

The WSLCB received funding in the state budget to standardize state store hours. Standardized hours are projected to generate nearly $800,000 in additional revenue during the 2011-13 Biennium.

“The later hours are not expected to compromise our top priority - public safety,” said WSLCB Administrative Director Pat Kohler. “Washington State liquor stores have among the nation’s highest no-sales-to-minors compliance rate at 95 percent. Additionally, state store employee wages are not based on sales, so they do not have an incentive to sell to teens or apparently intoxicated people.”

Additional Convenience Measures Ahead
Standardized store hours is the first of several plans that are funded in the state budget or called for via enacted legislation that will enhance convenience and generate revenue. Coming soon:

Additional Stores

  • Two High-Volume Specialty Stores. These stores will be located in urban markets. They will offer an upscale environment and an expanded and unique spirit selection complimented by regional wines and Northwest craft beers. The first of the two stores is expected to open later this summer in West Seattle.
     
  • State and Contract Stores. The WSLCB will open two new state stores and up to six contract liquor stores. Contract stores are privately-run small businesses that primarily serve rural markets. The stores will open over the course of the biennium.

Spirit Sampling Pilot Program

  • The WSLCB will implement legislation (Substitute House Bill 1202) that establishes a pilot program for sampling spirits in state and contract stores. The WSLCB is working with the Distillery Representatives of Washington (DRAW) to develop and implement the program at 30 stores. The pilot will run September 1, 2011 – September 1, 2012.

Later in the biennium, the WSLCB will implement additional convenience measures including:

  • Gift cards that can be redeemed at state and contract stores;
  • Online ordering for pick-up at state stores; and
  • Optional delivery to restaurants;

*State stores are operated by state employees and are located in suburban and urban markets. Contract stores are privately-run small businesses that contract with the state. Contract stores primarily serve small rural markets. Due to existing contracts and varying business needs of rural communities, contract stores are not included in the standardized hours. Please see www.liq.wa.gov for individual store hours.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board’s mission is to contribute to the safety and financial stability of our communities by ensuring the responsible sale, and preventing the misuse of, alcohol and tobacco. The WSLCB returned $370.3 million in Fiscal Year 2010 to fund essential state and local services.

###

Contact:     Brian Smith, WSLCB Communications Director, (360) 664-1774