On Friday, The Will of the People was put into action, as the State of Washington's monopoly on liquor sales was ended. As per I-1183, on Thursday the 31st, State Liquor Stores closed their doors, and starting Friday the 1st, normal retailers were able to begin selling liquor and spirits. Some stores, like my local Safeway, had had the liquor on the shelves for over a week, but there was a magical white sheet hanging there preventing you from buying the hard stuff.
If the state maintains sales record stats for hard alcohol, I would love to see how much was sold this weekend. I am guessing that the volume of sales for Friday and Saturday would have to be roughly equal to the sales for a New Years/4th of July type weekend. People were buying stuff just for the novelty of being able to purchase liquor where they get their regular groceries. Heck...even I bought some whisky on the way home from work Friday. The last thing I need is another bottle of whisky...I've got two gallons of whisky in the garage from the last time I stocked up...but buying a 5th at Safeway will keep me from having to open a big bottle.
A lot of folks(me included) were hoping that by opening up who could sell liquor, we would see a price dip, but the wording of I-1183 allowed the state to establish a Liquor Sales Tax and a flat per liter fee, to off-set the loss of not operating stores anymore. The fee was $3.75 a liter, and the sales tax is 20%. Holy poop.
In the state stores, the price on the shelf was what you paid. At Safeway, you get to see a sales price on the shelf, and then be surprised at the checkout. The sales prices are WAY cheaper than the out the door prices at the state stores, but the totals with tax and fees seem to be a little higher. On the cheapo stuff they put on sale, like the Black Velvet I buy for mixing, you are talking like 50 cents. On fancier stuff, it's $4-5 difference.
So...here in the Tri-Cities, we are less than an hour from the Oregon border, and 2.5 hours from Idaho. Both of those locations are much cheaper than here in Washington. The obvious answer is to stock up when you do things like go to Pendleton so your wife can look at wool mill ends.
I suppose you could just not drink alcohol, but that's crazy talk.