Campaign Filings Show the Oregon Booze War Has Begun

Oregon grocers have sought privatization since at least 2011, when Washington voters approved it there.

The Northwest Grocery Association has not made an official announcement yet, but campaign finance filings this week with the Oregon secretary of state show the organization is beginning to spend money on a November ballot measure to allow hard liquor sales in grocery stores.

With a few exceptions in rural Oregon, all retail liquor sales currently go through state-licensed, stand-alone stores.

On May 2, the Customer Choice and Convenience Act of 2022 paid $100,000 to Metronome Consulting, a signature-gathering firm run by industry veteran Tim Trickey.

Oregon grocers have sought privatization since at least 2011, when Washington voters approved it there. The powerful Oregon Beer & Wine Distributors Association opposes privatization, which probably presages an expensive battle over the issue.

“Oregon grocers are excited to get our petition in the hands of voters who know we are way behind the times when it comes to state control over liquor,” says Amanda Dalton, president and CEO of the NGA. “It’s time Oregonians join our neighbors in California and Washington, who can conveniently buy liquor and cocktails in a can at their local grocery stores.”