of the Washen, president Mhairi Voelsg under and Guild and fo rs le til is D on ingt ille, Washts in Woodinv iri Sp o oV br CEO of r of being one e dubious hono ington, has th illeries to lose s very first dist n’ to ng hi as W of e new law. e passage of th th r te af e nu reve uction in launched prod broVo Spirits hen the cam , at a time w ot N June of 2011 . mping up ization was ra paign for privat irits received ing, broVo Sp en op r te af long e Washington order from th a six-figure product to be ore buyer for State liquor st e state. “I re ery store in th ev to d pe ‘If ip sh sing agent, to the purcha member saying are you going goes through, sprivatization r?’” said Voel purchase orde en to honor the th ely.’ And said, ‘Absolut gen. “And they they didn’t t through and en w n io at iz privat We had to ze rchase order. as w honor the pu It s. onth nue for eight m ro-balance reve start.” a complete re es a funrience illustrat pe ex ’s en sg r Voel state-run liquo ciple of many e iz damental prin rit io to pr ies: They tend store monopol e retailers at iv pr s in a way er ill st di te ta in-s ic-run system do. “The publ ,” don’t always craft industry ortive of the sy ea was very supp y relativel ained. “It was Voelsgen expl move prodan the shelf d on ot sp a t to ge r hand, ts, on the othe ke ar m e at iv uct.” Pr d distributors, er brands an advantage bigg relationships have existing m ho w of t os m r Washingery chains. Fo oc gr or aj m with e new market adjusting to th ton distillers, their existing l re-thinking of meant a radica s. business plan oduct and worked on pr , ck ba t en w “We ilt more relapment, and bu . product develo said Voelsgen bartenders,” a t tionships with ge ough to e fortunate en “Then we wer it probably the gate, but of t ou or ut distrib three years.” a good two or held us back
ve of the ti r o p p u s y r e v s t system wa “The public-run was relatively easy to get a spoSpirits craft industry. It move product.” — MHAIRI VOELSGEN, broVo on the shelf and ugh.” are in 23 ts’ products iri Sp o oV br Today, n D.C. and ing Washingto states, includ entric marketa bartender-c Canada, with tails and colphasizing cock em gy te ra st ing laboration. thinks privatter, Voelsgen Nine years la g for Washing en a mixed ba g in ization has be ry nces va s with experie ton’s distiller e business. and size of th e ag e th on s based hed distillerie more establis e us “Older and ca them, be been good for would say it’s a distributor to sign with le ab e er w they she said. “For r business,” h and grow thei it’s been muc eries, I think ng di younger distill fin rd time have a very ha harder. They ess in this su e key to cc th d an n io ut distrib ribution.” market is dist
Washington, ry in Seattle, OOLA Distille when private early stages was also in th e. “When we em by surpris th ht ug ca n io izat idea that 10, we had no 20 in g in en op were e to happen was even clos y irb privatization K r Distille der and Head ing,” said Foun even talking as obody w “N . is w Le sla Kal about it.” distribution says getting Kallas-Lewis e he faced. In ggest challeng ic pr wasn’t the bi crease in the sudden in stead, it was ne of the uor shelves. “O liq e th ss ro ing ac nal taxes that was the additio hardest parts is. “It’s such id Kallas-Lew sa ,” in ed ck ki ere. There market out th ve iti ns se eic a pr prices, and about lower were promises different prod to more and ’t dn more access di ises just t of those prom ucts, and a lo
res was to s n u r te ta s e e me of th “Walking into sorab. Fluorescent lights. It felt liks... just sad. Grey. Den want to get out of their chair people didn’t ev a positive working with other I think it’s been .” — KIRBY KALLAS-LEWIS, OOLA Distillery motivated people
been very to come true. It’s brought n passed, it io at iz at iv pr When heme. Today, w taxation sc in with it a ne fferent ways xed in two di ta e ar ts iri le sp irits sa s t, there’s a sp rs Fi n. to ng irWashi cost of the sp based on the d an tax, which is il, ta % re t rate is 20.5 lits it. The curren ere’s a spiri sale. Then th 13.7% whole sed on the at, which is ba th of p to on x ter ta at’s charged at container. Th volume of the .4408 per liter liter retail, $2 $3.7708 per Washington e’s also a 17% er Th . le sa le who retailer — arged to the ch e fe il ta re State taxes on top , federal excise r plus, of course icker shock fo added up to st ed st of that. It all s. Adju ton consumer many Washing prices are ngton liquor hi as W n, tio for infla ere before prier than they w about 8% high vatization. are trading that people is e ns se y “M e who used to elsgen. “Peopl down,” said Vo solut. People se now buy Ab buy Grey Goo now buy Smirn buy Absolut to ed us n ho to w e Washing inspired som off.” It’s also state lines in shop across consumers to es just across aho; many stor Oregon and Id it revenue in w double-dig sa er rd bo r ei e th adjusted th ashingtonians creases as W ts. shopping habi privatization Lewis thinks sla Still, Kal thing for OOLA erall, a good ov , en be s ha By signing ton distillers. ng hi as W r fo to and ’s been able stributors, he es at with major di st ion to arket penetrat expand his m he says that d an hington, as W nd yo be l wel are generalhave survived ho w rs ile ta the re stores. “There the state-run t ly better than run stores, bu ntastic states al were some fa tic individu to the fantas that was due the stateinto some of ng ki al W . in them Kallas-Lewis. just sad,” said e run stores was hts. It felt lik Fluorescent lig b. ra D y. ei re “G t out of th r en want to ge ev ’t dn di le peop ore capitalism ving a little m chairs. So ha hurt at all. I e pot hasn’t r thrown into th king with othe a positive wor en be s it’ k in th le.” motivated peop
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