North Idaho

New liquor store open in N. Idaho due to WA law

POST FALLS, Idaho - There's a new place to get liquor at State Line in Idaho and it's opening is a direct result of the new Washington law privatizing liquor sales.

Back in June, Initiative 1183 shifted liquor sales from state-run liquor stores to private businesses selling spirits. This change has had many Washingtonians, like David Sackett, to making a run for the border to get their alcohol cheaper across the state line.

"I'm saving at least enough to buy another one," Sackett said.

Sackett is one of many people who are heading to Idaho for alcohol; in fact, since 1183 went into effect, one state-run liquor store in Post Falls saw sales jump by as much as 60-percent. In a typical year, they sell $6 Million in liquor; they are on pace to sell $10 Million of alcohol this year.

New state line liquor store

The massive increase is why Idaho opened up a new state line liquor store just two weeks ago, the first liquor store opened in at least three years in the Gem State.

"We have been somewhat overwhelmed in the change in market conditions as a result of the passage of 1183 in Washington," Jeff Anderson, the director of Idaho's Liquor Division, said. "With this change in consumer buying patterns, it became apparent we really needed to provide relief to that Post Falls store."

During a one hour period Tuesday night, at least 75 percent of the cars that pulled into the parking lot of the State Line liquor store bore Washington license plates, presumably with people looking for lower-priced spirits.

At the state line store in Idaho, a bottle of Black Velvet cost $9.45 and with tax cost $10.02. The same bottle of Black Velvet at the Safeway near the Gonzaga University campus was actually cheaper than the Idaho bottle; if you have a Club Card the bottle is $8.99. However when you add on all the taxes, the Washington bottle comes out to $13.66, $3.64 more than the same liquor purchased in Idaho.

"Oh, I'll never buy in Washington. It just doesn't make any sense," Sackett said.