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DISCUS, Grocers Withdraw Oregon Privatization Initiative

April 29, 2016

An Oregon ballot initiative aimed at allowing spirits sales in grocery stores has been abandoned by its backers, including the Northwest Grocery Association and the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. (DISCUS). The move was cheered by local independent retailers and suppliers, who’ve organized under a group called Oregonians Against the Takeover.

“We intend to take a step back and consult with our local producer and wholesaler partners in order to achieve a unified position,” said DISCUS president and CEO Kraig Naasz, citing the necessity of “addressing the needs of both small and large suppliers, distributors, grocers and, importantly, Oregon’s consumers.”

In recent days, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) announced that it will allow 14 new retail venues in the Portland area—including four Walmarts—to sell liquor under its “open recruitment” program, which is intended to increase access to spirits without full privatization of the system.

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