Washington voters last year approved privatization of the state’s liquor business, opening up liquor sales to grocery stores and other retailers. That came with a new 10 percent distributor fee plus a 17 percent retail fee to replace money the state lost when it shut down its state-run liquor stores. The result was higher prices for consumers at many retail outlets.
The surge in Idaho border-store sales mirrors a surge in Oregon, where sales near the Washington border rose 35 percent in June, bringing Oregon $870,000 more than usual. That’s just a hair more than Idaho’s border-store sales increase last month. Oregon, like Idaho, has a state-run liquor market.
But it’s also likely because of Washington shoppers driving across the border for lower prices. The eight Idaho-run stores near Washington sold about 33 percent more liquor in June than the same month last year, Anderson said. The state’s overall June sales were 14 percent higher.