Washington State Privatizes Booze Sales, 78 Years Later

By Adam K. Raymond 11/09/11

And box stores are now primed to sell bottles in bulk.

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Washington State is officially out of the booze biz. After the most expensive initiative fight in the state's history, voters overwhelmingly approved the privatization of Washington's liquor sales, ending a Prohibition-era rule that made the government the sole purveyor of the hard stuff for 78 years. The new rule will nearly quadruple the number of stores permitted to sell liquor from 328 to 1,428—and none of them is more excited than Costco, which pumped $22.5 million into the effort to allow it to sell booze in bulk. Finally, a 15 gallon jug of gin to go with those 15 pound jars of olives.

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Adam K. Raymond covers politics and sports for New York Magazine. Visit Adam's website and follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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