WSWA Plays Key Role in Washington State Deregulation Battle

Washington, D.C.—The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) applauds the citizens of Washington state for what appears to be the imminent defeat of Initiative 1100—a measure that would have served to completely deregulate the state’s beverage alcohol distribution system.

With more than half of the projected 2.4 million votes counted, I-1100 is losing 48 percent yes to 52 percent no. While a number of voters in Washington state may have looked favorably upon privatizing liquor sales, it is clear that their concerns over the complete deregulation of alcohol sales and distribution that I-1100 represented far outweighed those feelings. In many areas of the state, the no vote was as high as 58 percent.

WSWA was instrumental in helping to defeat I-1100 through the creation of a campaign committee entitled "People for Responsible Liquor Laws." WSWA’s efforts against I-1100 targeted more than 150,000 persuadable, independent and Republican-leaning voters in the three most populated counties, who, our research showed, were initially leaning toward supporting the initiative. Each household received three pieces of mail with the overarching message to Washington voters that alcohol was different than other consumer products, that I-1100 was ill-considered and that deregulation of alcohol distribution would lead to a disorderly marketplace lacking effective regulatory control.

“Clearly, WSWA made an impact. We knew this block of voters would be critical in defeating the initiative. With I-1100 currently losing by more than 55,000 votes, I can tell you with confidence that our message of responsible liquor laws and appropriate regulation of alcoholic beverages made a difference in the state of Washington,” WSWA President and CEO Craig Wolf said.

“The vote in Washington state should send a clear message to lawmakers in the nation’s capitol who are considering federal legislation—H.R. 5034, the Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness (CARE) Act—that seeks to support state control over alcohol: when given the choice, people do not want to see alcohol deregulated. The vote of the people of Washington state is a strong reminder that the majority of Americans, in that state and across the nation, are opposed to the deregulation of an alcohol distribution system which has proven to be the safest and most effective in the world” said Wolf.


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