PORTLAND, Ore. – If you like the idea of buying beer and wine at liquor stores in Oregon, you’re in luck.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, known as the OLCC, is opening up a program that allows liquor stores to expand their offerings beyond just spirits.
Previously liquor stores – which are tightly controlled by the state – were prohibited from selling beer and wine.
In June of last year, the OLCC allowed four liquor stores around the state to start selling beer and wine under a pilot program. The state’s liquor board then reviewed the program, looking at sales data, customer service and impact on the community.
On Thursday, the board decided that any of the state’s 248 liquor stores can apply for a license to add beer and wine to the mix.
OLCC officials said their goal was to create a better experience for customers.
The move is also a welcome change for liquor stores agents. With liquor, they are limited to only 8.88 percent profit on each bottle. They will have the potential to make higher margins on beer and wine sales.
"I think it's good for me because now people will understand you can buy beer and wine at a liquor store," said Dan Miner, the owner of Hollywood Beverages. His store was part of the pilot program to sell beer and wine. "We have 80 years of training Oregonians that you only buy distilled spirits in a liquor store. Now that is slowly changing."
Customer Jerron Tillis told us he supports the change because it gives him more choices as a consumer.
"If you can get one in your neighborhood and get everything taken care of at one time then I think it's a good thing," Tillis told us.
Maury Hornstein, who represents the distillery industry, said his industry just wants to make sure their products are crowded off the shelves by beer and wine.
"That's the reason you need a plan on how you're going to dedicate your space to beer and wine," Hornstein said.