Fate of liquor initiative has distillers in limbo




YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Washington’s craft distillers are finding themselves in a state of limbo following a judge’s ruling last week that could derail the voter-approved initiative privatizing liquor sales.

A Cowlitz County judge on Friday upheld most of an initiative that requires the state to get out of the liquor business, but called for a trial to determine whether a provision for public safety funding violated rules for initiatives to address only one subject.

The entire measure would be nullified if the court determines that voters would have rejected the initiative without the provision.

Steve Stone of Sound Spirits in Seattle says the timing is awful for small distillers who are just starting out. Instead, he says they need a stable system and efficient marketplace to get their businesses off the ground.