Liquor Sales and Tax Revenue On The Rise In Washington

After taking a painful dip, liquor sales have increased by 15.4 percent two months after privatization.

One month prior to the privatization of liquor sales, the state saw a 26.6 percent rise as many customers, bars and restaurants stocked up in anticipation of a price spikes and have full capacity in their restaurant refrigeration for stock. Fortunately, a large price spike has not yet been experienced. While the price of liquor is higher than it was under the state system, there seems to be a slow decline in prices as demand levels out. June liquor prices were 17.2 percent higher than last year, while July prices were only 16.2 percent higher. The increase in price could have been caused by the sudden surge in consumer demand. The flipside of the price increase is that more tax revenue has been collected.

Tax revenue from liquor sales from May through July was up 15 percent compared to a year earlier, to $68 million. That’s slightly higher than originally forecast, said Steve Lerch, interim director at the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. During that period 10.6 million liters were sold, up from 9.5 million liters during the three-month period in 2011. (source)

Officials are unable to forecast the amount of next year’s tax revenues from liquor sales because this is the first time liquor sales have been privatized in Washington.

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