Thursday, July 10, 2008

Myth: Oregon offers only a limited variety of distilled spirits products.



Actually, the OLCC offers about 1,700 different distilled spirits items. The distribution center regularly carries about 1,300 items, and that number swells by at least 30 percent when adding special orders and one-time product offerings. Customers are responding enthusiastically to the wide variety of new distilled spirits and the agency continues to expand its product line to meet the demand. By continually evaluating the product line, the OLCC provides consumers with new beverage varieties as they are introduced and eliminates non-performing items.

27 comments:

  1. Wow! Makes me thirsty!!

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  2. I love the OLCC and all it stands for. The agency does good work.

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  3. How does one find out the nearest location for a new product such as the absinthe made by Integrity Spirits in Portland?

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  4. Ha! Yes, all hail the mighty OLCC!

    Whether or not limited variety is truly a myth, doesn't really matter as you control the variety. And the distribution. And the price fixing.
    Good luck explaining to your average consumer why this is actually a benefit for them.

    Guess it could be worse. Could be Utah.

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  5. Currently, the best way to find a particular product is to call the liquor stores in your area. Here is a list of all the liquor stores in our state: http://www.olcc.state.or.us/pdfs/liquor_store_list.pdf

    The OLCC is currently working on a program that will allow you to locate a particular product by entering the product and your zip code. The product locator should be available on our Web site in the near future.

    The Trillium Absinthe you mentioned was made available in limited quantities in most of the Portland-area stores.

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  6. You may have a large variety of products available, but the very fact that you have zero competition leaves consumers at the mercy of bureaucratic whims. We have no access to some products we may want because there is no sanctioned provider until the government agency acts. It makes no sense.

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  7. What I want to know is why do OLCC officers carry guns? "You've had too much to drink sir, put down the vodka tonic and walk away slowly, we will use deadly force!"

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  8. Kevin,
    You bring up another myth about the availability of certain liquor products in Oregon. You can actually get any distilled spirit domestically available. So, if it's available for sale in the US, you can get it in Oregon. If there is an item you want, you can get it by special order at any Oregon liquor store. And there is no additional cost to the customer.

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  9. "And there is no additional cost to the customer."

    Except for the standard OLCC markup, thankyouverymuch. Check out your local cornerstore, supermarket, specialty store, etc next time you are in California and you'll see what the additional cost to (Oregon) consumers really is. Also note that California does not seem to be any worse off for having a competitive market in spirits.

    It's good to see the OLCC engaging the public with a blog, but I have to say it's a risky proposition. Defending an unnecessary and cumbersome monopoly by bureaucracy ain't easy. Best of luck to y'all.

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  10. I hope you plan on subscribing to other industry blogs so you can get a reality check every once in a while. I would strongly encourage you to use Google Reader. Then do a Google Blog search for the words "OLCC" and then subscribe to that blog search... Then you can see how poorly people talk about you.

    Welcome to the blogosphere.

    PS --

    Your anonymous comments about how awesome you are read as totally fake. If you are going to have other employees leave you comments tell them they should use their real name and build some online cred.

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  11. It would be interesting to see a study comparing NET revenue to the state between the Oregon system and the California system. I have no gripe with the state making money from liquor, but I don't understand why the OLCC doesn't just set a tax rate that will generate appropriate net revenue to the state and let Costco, Safeway, etc. do the retailing. State controlled liquor stores seem like a leftover from prohibition days when liquor was considered "evil".

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  12. I at least give the OLCC credit for allowing comments — anonymous ones, even — rather than just listing a bunch of press releases. But the two glowing comments within a minute of each other do look fake.

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  13. Truth: Oregon liquor is not legally sold on the open market.

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  14. Myth: Oregonians enjoy the benefits of a free market economy when choosing the best price for their liquor from among several competitors.

    Actually, the OLCC employs a Soviet-style system of socialism in which the government controls distribution and pricing, and consumers either pay the price the OLCC edicts, or lump it.

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  15. OK. Given that the OLCC controls the price of the product and each store gets a list of what product is on 'sale' each month, where on this site can I read that list? Otherwise I have to stand outside the store and read the list. It would be nice to know what is on sale this month or even better what will be on sale NEXT month.

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  16. Jordan,
    A list of all products on sale for the current month and next month is available on our web site. Please note that sale prices for the next month are not available until the 20th of each month. Here's a quick link to the page:
    Product Listings

    For future reference, this list - and more - is located under the Distilled Spirits Program link on the left side of our home page: www.oregon.gov/OLCC

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  17. Politics aside, that is some great service right there! I will be checking the Distilled Spirits Program link monthly, THANKS!

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  18. "Jordan" looks to be connected to the OLCC.

    It would look less suspicious for the OLCC to directly discuss the price list and link to it on their blog, rather than have a mysterious "Jordan" conveniently come by and "inquire" about it.

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  19. Sorry Anonymous, I don't know the previous poster (Jordan) you mentioned.

    Your suggestion for making the pricing information a blog topic is a good idea - thank you! And, thanks for continuing to read our blog!

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  20. OLCC is probably packing guns because they have to go to sleaze bag bars that cater to felons. This is like asking why a cop carries a gun when he is issuing an MIP to a drunk college kid - it is because the cop is not worried about the drunk college kid, he/she is worried about the idiot willing to take a shot at a cop. duh.

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  21. Seriously! You can't get anything in this state compared to non-control states. Prices are extremely high and you have to go to the state liquor store, where you feel like you committed a crime because it feels so naughty to be in there. They'll special order you something if you get a case!!!!!! Wow, thanks. They are trying to control alcohol consumption but you are supposed to buy a case! I can't wait until the day that the OLCC is disbanded or I don't live in Oregon. For such a wonderful progressive state, the nazi gestapo that runs around using mafia tactics to do as they please is a real disgrace to what otherwise is a wonderful place to live.

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  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  23. There are more than 1,700 products regularly available in most Oregon contract liquor stores, as compared to the 400-800 products you may expect to find on the shelves of retailers in non-control states. Based on a recent survey of retail liquor prices in the Northwest, Oregon's distilled spirits prices are very competitive, even compared to non-control states like California. California may appear to have cheaper prices on certain products, as they frequently offer "loss leader" products that are sold at a loss to entice customers into the store.

    Regarding special orders, manufacturers/distributors will only ship products by the case, which is why we can't just order one bottle of a particular item.

    Oregon liquor retailers are private businesses, not state-owned liquor stores, and are not run by state employees. Operators of liquor stores are contracted to sell distilled spirits on the state's behalf as independent business people.

    The OLCC encourages contract liquor agents to make the shopping experience positive for Oregonians with an emphasis on clean, convenient and safe stores, with a high degree of customer service.

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  24. Can we just adopt Missouri's laws already?

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  25. Missouri alcohol laws are among the most permissive in the US.

    One important thing to note is that Missouri is one of the few states where the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities have increased since the 1980s. In 2008, Missouri had 364 alcohol-related traffic deaths.*

    Oregon's alcohol-related driving fatalies have steadily decreased over the years, most recently dropping from 137 in 2008 to 115 in 2009.*

    *Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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  26. I have to admit that I like the liquior store concept. You have an entire store dedcated to flavors. Tons of different tastes and honestly new products show up so often that I can't try them all. I don't drink all that frequently, but I certainly enjoy variety and have over time amassed a very well stocked bar. I'm not saying it is the best system, but because I know prices are fixed, I don't need to shop around or worry that this fifth of vodka might be cheaper at another store. I simply go to the store that makes the shopping experience the best for me, and right now that's the brand new Rose City Liquiors right by my house.

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