SALEM, Ore. ? Oregonians might soon be able to buy hard alcohol at their local grocery store, the Eugene Daily News reports. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) has been testing liquor sales at some grocery stores. Currently, hard alcohol is sold only in liquor stores, while beer and wine are available at supermarkets and other retailers.
?Where we?ve already gone forward with the four liquor stores that could sell beer and wine, as far as the corporations? we have not had any corporations apply,? said Christie Scott, OLCC public affairs specialist. ?What it is, when we have an opening [for a liquor store], and we have people or corporations applying to be liquor agents ? you still have to put forward a business plan and our board of commissioners will have to approve that plan. It?s up to the five commissioners who gets the contract.?
Scott said that supermarkets and other retailers could apply for the license, including companies like Walmart and Target. ?Right now we have the store-within-a-store. There?s a liquor store inside a major grocery store,? said Scott. ?It?s kind of like a Starbucks or a bank that you would see within a store.?
That juxtaposition has opened the door for grocery stores to sell liquor outright. Neighbor Washington state recently relaxed rules that allow grocery stores to sell alcohol, one of two states that allow liquor outside of liquor stores.
Small convenience stores have expressed concern over liquor stores selling beer and wine because of the potential loss of business. Because of their smaller size, these retailers wouldn?t be able to stock large quantities of alcohol like grocery stores.
Meanwhile, the Northwest Grocery Association has requested the Oregon government to modernize the state?s liquor laws. If the state refuses to update their current liquor system, the association says it will press to privatize liquor in the state.