Costco Fights for Your Right to Party

Beastieboys 800Kinda. They are at least fighting to help you save money on your beer and wine purchases from them.

Lawyers for the big-box retailer on Thursday asked U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman to let it and other stores buy directly from out-of-state wineries and breweries. State lawyers representing the state Liquor Control Board warned the judge that doing so would dramatically increase alcohol consumption in Washington.

What a load of crap. They just want to level the playing field so they can better compete with the state liquor stores.

Costco's lawsuit, filed early last year, challenges Washington's scheme for distributing alcohol from other states. Under it, out-of-state vintners and brewers must sell to one of about 200 licensed distributors in Washington state, at a markup of at least 10 percent above cost. The distributors then sell to retailers, such as Costco, at another 10 percent markup. Washington's 450 wineries and breweries can sell directly to retailers, at just a 10 percent minimum markup.

Costco, based in Issaquah, says that by buying in bulk, striking deals directly with out-of-state wineries and using its own distribution system, it could offer beer and wine at better prices. Company lawyer David Burman said the state cannot justify forcing retailers to use a middleman at an automatic 20 percent markup — especially when state liquor stores aren't subject to the same restrictions or markups.

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