New liquor law in Washington drives booze sales in Oregon - KPTV - FOX 12

New liquor law in Washington drives booze sales in Oregon

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RAINIER, OR (KPTV) -

It's the same bottle of booze, but you'll have to pay more for it depending on what state you're in.

Less than a week after hard alcohol went on sale in major grocery stores across Washington, liquor stores in Oregon are reporting a big boost in business. They say customers are pouring in across the border from Washington to get cheaper liquor in Oregon.

"It's ridiculous," said Heidi Porter, a customer who traveled across the state line to buy booze.

Porter lives in Longview, WA, but she drove to Rainer, OR, to buy liquor Wednesday afternoon.

She said it has been too expensive to buy hard alcohol in her home state since the new liquor law went into effect last Friday.

The Rainer Liquor Store said customers just like Porter have been pouring into the store.

"It's been amazing," said Diana Heston, who works at the store. "Absolutely amazing!"

The store says alcohol sales are up 15 to 20 percent since last week because people who live in Washington want to save money on hard liquor.

"Sometimes it's just $3 to $5," said Heston. "Other times it can be as much as a $10, $20 or $30 difference."

FOX 12 did some price comparison at stores in Washington and Oregon.

At the Rainer Liquor Store, a 25-ounce bottle of vodka was on sale for $19.95, or 80 cents an ounce.

At a Fred Meyer in Longview, the same bottle of vodka was also on sale for $19.99. But after the state's taxes, it came out to $26.92, or a $1.07 an ounce.

At a Safeway in Hazel Dell, the same bottle was on sale for $18.99. After taxes it was $25.71, which breaks down to a $1.02 per ounce.

Despite what some have heard, state taxes did not change with Washington's new law.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board attributes the price increase to new fees that came with the voter-approved initiative which privatized liquor sales last Friday.

Those fees include a 10 percent distribution fee and a 17 percent retail fee that ultimately get passed on to the consumer.

And while being able to buy a bottle of booze at a big grocery store is convenient for some, others say they'll keep crossing the state line to stock up.

Possibly the cheapest option to save money on liquor in Washington is to buy in bulk.

Costco, the big chain that was behind the new Washington liquor initiative, sells a much bigger bottle of the vodka for $46.35. That actually breaks down to 79 cents an ounce.

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