Last OLCC Retail Innovations Meeting: Privatization Will Create Winners and Losers

I attended the last of the OLCC’s Retail Innovations meetings on Friday January 24, 2014 and privatization was not surprisingly the main topic of discussion. The meeting took place just following the OLCC’s Commission Meeting at their main offices. Importantly, it was the first meeting since the Northwest Grocery Association filed the first of many initiatives to privatize the OLCC. Since the filing of the initiatives, the OLCC helped put forward a draft piece of legislation to modernize the OLCC and to be a counter to the NWGA’s many initiatives. Given the many divergent interests of the many stakeholders, almost everyone has found something that they don’t like about the proposed legislation. We can anticipate fixes in the near future. You can take a look at the draft legislation here. To learn more about the OLCC to put this into context, you can view a recent powerpoint presentation given to the Senate Business and Transportation Committee and the House Business and Labor Committee here.

An important theme for the meeting was that any changes to the OLCC, whether through legislation or initiative, would result in winners and losers. Owners of existing liquor stores may have the most to lose, but Oregon’s craft distilling industry, Oregon cities and counties dependent on OLCC revenues (and the taxpayers that benefit from their services), and certain industry members also have a lot at stake. Consumers and Oregon’s restaurants and bars may also see a price increase.

More to come …