We’ve already told you why March 1st is a big day in the annals of 1183, the initiative that has reshaped Washington’s liquor industry — it’s the day Capitol Hill distillery Oola can set out to control its own fate and begin self-distribution to area bars and restaurants. Three months from today is another 1183 milestone — June 1st will be the first day retailers not controlled by the state can begin selling booze. Here is a look at the six places — and possibly one more — where you’ll find the hard stuff on Capitol Hill come June.
To qualify, 1183 requires retailers to be at least 10,000 square feet — a proviso said to be designed to prevent unsavory bodegas from dealing in hooch and a formidable hurdle to any entity that wants to apply for an exception. It’s no surprise, then, that five of the six active applications for spirit retail on Capitol Hill come from grocery giants Safeway and QFC. The peculiar result: 15th Ave E becomes the booziest shopping strip on the Hill.
You also might be able to add at least one smaller, independent and community-minded grocery entity to that list. Madison’s Central Co-op this week decided to apply for the spirits retailing permit though the board has not yet decided whether the co-operative will stock hard liquor, a representative tells CHS. In the meantime, the co-op is covering its bases and plans to file paperwork.
We’re still checking with Trader Joe’s with their plans for their E Madison location. The grocery chain hasn’t filed to sell booze anywhere in the city yet but we haven’t heard back from the company. Some of its California stores, for example, do sell hard liquor so you might expect an even more Fearless Flyer soon.
Other grocery providers that might serve your Capitol Hill needs haven’t applied yet. Whole Foods is one. Metropolitan Market is another though we’ve heard hope that Metropolitan Market might provide at least one outlet in the city that is more locally focused. Costco, which pumped a lot of energy and even more money into 1183, also hasn’t turned its paperwork in yet — a sure sign that there are more retailers to come. And we won’t even mention Amazon Fresh — not yet, drunky drunk.
Meanwhile, a short drive will deliver thee unto BevMo which is planning a Southcenter installation and Target which has applied to sell booze at its Seattle and Eastside locations and throughout the state.
The picture around the big chain drugstores in the neighborhood is murkier. Representatives for Walgreens and Rite Aid have yet to reply to our inquiries about their plans and one representative was befuddled by the question. “Is this a change in the law?” the rep asked. But state records show that Walgreens has put their paperwork in for their 15th Ave E store to join the fray. We remember when it was
news notable for the location to start selling beer and wine.
Of course, on Capitol Hill, you can also go directly to the source and buy directly from Oola’s tasting room. Sun Liquor hopes to someday also be able to offer off-premise sales. But you won’t be able to buy from the old state stores on 12th and Broadway. No word yet on what happens to the real estate. But come June 1, they’ll be long gone and you’ll be buying Jose Cuervo, toilet paper and Vanity Fair at Safeway. It’s going to be a great summer.
View Seattle Spirits Retailers in a full screen map