Washington State Auctions Liquor Stores for $31 Million


Washington State, preparing to shift toward privatization of its liquor stores, has raised $31 million from hundreds of bidders in a public auction of its 167 state-run retail outlets.

Washington will no longer sell hard spirits through government-run liquor stores as of June 1, following a "yes" vote on a ballot initiative, backed in large part by Costco, last November. Voters chose to allow supermarkets and big-box stores to sell liquor. The state already allows these stores to sell beer and wine.

Some 14,627 bids were registered, including $4.6 million for the entire liquor store system, which was rejected. Winning bids ranged from $49,600 for a store in Spokane to $750,100 for a store in Tacoma.