Initiative kicks in: Bars, restaurants can buy liquor from distillers

Feb 29, 2012

Washington bars and restaurants will be allowed to buy liquor directly from distilleries beginning Thursday.

The change stems from a voter-approved initiative to privatize liquor sales and dismantle Washington's state-run liquor system, which was formed in the 1930s in the aftermath of Prohibition.

The measure allows stores larger than 10,000 square feet to sell liquor. Some smaller stores also could to sell liquor if there are no other outlets in a trade area.

Consumers have to wait until June to buy liquor directly from private retailers. More than 800 retailers across the state have applied to sell liquor, including Costco, Fred Meyer, Albertson's and Safeway.