OLCC could raise floor price of hard liquor in Oregon

MEDFORD, Ore.– The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, or OLCC, says a new change could be on its way rising prices. The commission is considering raising the floor price of some liquors being sold in Oregon. It says the goal is to reduce DUI’s and drunk driving accidents. OLCC spokesperson Bryant Haley says it’s a difficult thing to balance protecting the people and helping businesses thrive.

He said, “It can be a tricky position. Its not an easy one. What’s more important, helping out public health more or helping out our licensees more? It has to be a balance.”

Assistant professor of economics at the University of Oregon, Jonathan Davis, says there are better ways to keep Oregonians safe. Davis says simply raising the price on hard liquor won’t do the trick. A liquor store manager in the Rogue Valley agrees with Davis. Saying that some people will just take their business out of Oregon.

She said, “Whenever they raise prices, whoever can go to California will just go to California and buy it there. People will go out of state and purchase it.”

With that, owner of Spirits World in Medford, Chuck Holston, agrees. He said he’s worried the changes could drive away his customers.

“If this cuts down our foot traffic, that would be a serious blow to us. And I could see that happening so I’m a little concerned about it.”

The commission began asking for public comment back in January. Monday was the last day for Oregonians to submit oral feedback on the proposal, and Haley says the OLCC received plenty of it.

“We do realize that this has an impact on bars and restaurants. We’ve heard from them. Is this the right change? Well, our commissioners will be voting on that April 8th.”

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