Possible Changes To Oregon Liquor Laws

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SHADY COVE, Ore. –- An effort is underway to change the liquor laws in the state of Oregon. The Northwest Grocery Association is making a push for grocers to be able to sell more than beer and wine in Oregon.

The Shady Cove Market is one of the very few grocery stores in the area where customers can pick up both their groceries and a bottle of hard liquor in the same location.

The long-standing market is one grocery deemed ‘non-exclusive’ by the state, meaning the selling of liquor here is okay under the terms that a liquor store wouldn’t be able to stand on its own in a small town like Shady Cove. Owners say this joint venture has proven successful in bringing in more customers and generating revenue, since local bars are also required to buy their booze from liquor stores.

Last year in Washington, the selling of liquor in grocery stores was approved. Court officials report a 17% increase in prices since private sales began in June. Grocery officials say despite those concerns, it’s a system that must change to comply with a lifestyle shift.

“Great for us in terms of profitability, but also the consumer now wants a one-stop shop experience because of time and the price of gas,” explained Northwest Grocery Association President Joe Gilliam.

The Association testified Thursday in front of the House Business and Commerce Committee to start laying out arguments and a time frame. While the group has tried this type of reform in the past, they hope having Washington as a recent example could help in their effort. If the legislature does not act during the 2013 legislative session, Northwest Grocers says they will try to a measure on the ballot for 2014.