What would you rather have, a privately run liquor state liquor store that will tack-on upwards of 30% more for your beer wine & liquor - or the current state run liquor system?
Some lawmakers are actually considering these options to save money. The proposal in question aims at getting Utah out of the business of running liquor stores. Instead, the state would control the supply of liquor at the warehouse level, but it would essentially franchise the retail liquor sales to private operators.
Now that all sounds fine and dandy until you realize that these proposed store operators are going to have to make a buck just like any other small business owner.
Utah currently imposes an 86 percent markup on liquor and wine. The state could continue to take that markup — which would mean an increase in retail price — or, with the reduced overhead from not running stores, could shrink the markup, maintain profits and let franchises keep a portion of the sales.
Rep. Ryan Wilcox, R-Ogden, who presented his proposal to the state's privatization board Wednesday, said he is uncomfortable with the state profiting from liquor sales at all, but it is impractical to think the state would give up control over the distribution.
And I think that's the rub. Unless Utah is 100% committed to getting out of the liquor business, Utah's consumers will continue to get screwed both in price and availability.
What do you think, is this a practical idea? Is it worth it paying more for your beer in exchange for a privately leased liquor store?