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9 North Kitsap retailers apply for liquor licenses

POULSBO — Your favorite hard stuff may soon be available at a store near you.

Several stores in the North Kitsap area have applied for a spirits retailer license. Around the state, more than 1,200 businesses have applied for licenses; comparatively, there are currently 328 state and contract liquor stores, according to Brian Smith, spokesman for the state Liquor Control Board.

“Independent [grocery and retail stores] don’t want to miss out on the competition,” Smith said.

Smith said the main criteria for the license is the store must be larger than 10,000 square feet, except for current liquor stores which are grandfathered in.

With the passage of Initiative 1183 in November, the state will stop operating liquor stores and liquor distribution by June 1. Contract liquor stores may continue to sell spirits, but will need to apply for a spirits retailer license, which costs $166.

Nine retailers in North Kitsap have applied for the license, some of which have already been approved.

In Poulsbo: Albertsons, Red Apple on Viking Avenue, Rite Aid, Walmart.

In Kingston: Albertsons, Kingston Thriftway, Rite Aid.

In Suquamish: Masi Shop on State Route 305.

According to state law, a business selling alcohol must be located more than 500 feet from a school, which is reflected in the Poulsbo Municipal Code. For those in rural areas, the initiative also establishes a “trade area” for new stores’ location, but leaves that definition up to the Liquor Control Board. Smith said they are waiting until June, when all the applicants are in, to see “the lay of the land.”

City planner Alyse Nelson said the city may adjust its zoning code, currently under review, to include liquor distributors.

Until I-1183, municipalities received beer and liquor excise tax (based on population) from the state, as well as liquor control board profits. Last year, Poulsbo received $109,333. Finance Director Deb Booher said the liquor control board profits will be eliminated, “but is anticipated to be supplemented by licensing fees and fees paid by distributors.”

The state is also auctioning off state liquor stores — Kingston’s store was privately owned and operated under contract, and is not up for auction, but Poulsbo’s 7th Avenue store is available. Current bids are up to $1,050 and can be viewed at http://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/washingtonliq,wa/list/current?orgid=231466 (store #145).

 

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