Liquor Control Board votes to increase markup on liquor

The Washington State Liquor Control Board on Wednesday voted to increase the markup on liquor to generate approximately $80 million in revenue during the next two-year budget cycle.

The move raises the markup from the current 39.2 percent to 51.9 percent. Markup is a percentage of the cost of product to the Board. The increase will go into effect Aug. 1 and last through the end of the 2009-2011 Biennium.

This action will replace the $78.6 million that will be removed from the Liquor Revolving Fund by the Legislature in Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1244 to help close the state’s $9 billion budget deficit.

The WSLCB is acting now to allow WSLCB staff time to prepare for the changes and to ensure that liquor suppliers have time to adjust their prices by August 1. Also, by increasing the markup sooner rather than later, the markup is less than it would have been if the WSLCB delayed the decision.

The increase does not apply to beer and wine products.

The Liquor Revolving Fund includes revenue from sales of spirits, beer and wine liter taxes, license fees and other related revenue sources. The fund covers WSLCB expenses and funds essential state and local services such as health care and education.

More expensive premium whiskey priced today at $41.95 would be approximately $45.65 under the new formula. A value whiskey priced today at $10.95 would be approximately $11.85 as of August 1, 2009.

In Fiscal Year 2008, the WSLCB returned a record $322 million to the state General Fund and other state and local government accounts. For more information regarding the WSLCB and where revenue from liquor sales goes, please visit the WSLCB Web site at

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