Friday, June 1, 2012

A remnant of Prohibition ends in Washington State.

One of the remaining remnants of Prohibition crumbled in Washington State today (i.e. starting June 1), when the state monopoly on liquor gives way to the newly privatized system.

I posted earlier about the auction for all 167 state liquor stores, and that auction resulted in the stores being sold individually (and not all to one bidder, as was one of the possibilities of the auction, which had an "entirety" option ). As it turns out, individual bids added up to more than any entirety bids, and so those stores are now individually in private hands, including 18 stores that had to be reauctioned when the original winners defaulted (see here for a news story  on the reauction at a link which will likely last longer).

The NIH's National Institute on Alcohol Policyand Alcoholism compiles information on state policies on the sale of alcohol, which has remained a somewhat repugnant transaction in many places, with a storied American history. See their Alcohol Policy Information System.

 This map shows that there will be only seven states with state owned liquor stores now.

The sale of alcohol was prohibited by the 18th amendment to the Constitution in 1919, and Prohibition was ended by the 21st amendment to the Constitution in 1933.

When I searched for 18th amendment, the top items were links to the amendment, but when I searched for 21st amendment, the top link was to a San Francisco brewery and restaurant with that name:) (It's a popular name, here's the Boston restaurant...). So the sale of alcohol is a recovered (or recovering) repugnant market. It will be interesting to see how some  other repugnant transactions end or begin in the coming years.

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