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Washington liquor sales show continued strength

Jake Ellison

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington liquor sales are showing signs of continued strength after the state moved to a privatized system.

State figures released Tuesday show that sales by volume were up 12 percent in August compared to the year earlier. That increase came despite prices being up 10 percent. Tax revenue was also up by about $4 million in the month.

Washington voters approved the privatization shift last year, and private liquor sales began in June. Sales initially dropped in the first month, something state officials attributed to businesses and residents stocking up before the transition. Sales have now been up by double digits in both July and August.

Washington's chief economist, Steve Lerch, said he expects sales and revenues to remain higher than before privatization but he says there is still uncertainty in those projections.

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