Washington Liquor Taxes

In Washington state, we have a screwed up system where the state has a monopoly on liquor via the state-owned liquor stores. The one interesting thing about having state-owned stores though is that they are more transparent about their markups and such. (OK, the other interesting thing is that they have the prices and stock of each store online. Too bad their selection is crappy.)

Here's a great page that shows how they price alcohol. I always thought the government took more than their fair share, but I was surprised to see that 75% of the price of a bottle of liquor in Washington goes to Federal and State taxes (50%) plus the Liquor Control Board (25%). The LCB's take is 70% operations and 30% taxes (yay, more taxes!)

In the example below, a $13.65 bottle of liquor only cost the state $3.48; the rest goes to The Man.

Washington State liquor pricing

Why oh why does the government own liquor stores?!?! How about doing some governing instead...

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Cody Croswell Reply


We have the same thing in MD. Actually, the thing that sucks the most is not the money ( it's actually cheaper to buy things in MD than the private, over-priced stores one state over ) but the selection and strict rules. For instance, I cannot order a bottle of wine or liquor online even if that is the only way it is available.

smeredith Reply

How can they call it "Markup" and not "Tax" when that section clearly states some of the money is going to "State General Fund" and "Cities/Counties," just like the "Tax" section?

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