#45 The OLCC

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission was created in the wake of Prohibition, when the name of the liquor game was “Control.” Oregon is now one of 9 states in the nation that have solely state run liquor sales, putting us in such good company as Utah (known for Mormon love) and Alabama (known for cousin love). There are 243 liquor stores in Oregon, all contracted through the OLCC. This means that an Albertson store can’t sell 1/2 gallons of Tanqueray for $20 like our friendly Albertsons south of the Cal-Oreo border. However, I still enjoy the OLCC’s occasional $2.00 off specials on Skyy Vodka.

In order to build relations with the general populous, the OLCC has also started a really cool blog (because government agencies are always known for the bestest, most informative blogs)! If you check it out, and I hope you do, the blog gives you fantastic information to prevent a future $1,000 fine. My favorite post “To Bag or Not To Bag“, informed me of something I had always suspected was law. Now, I can brown bag by choice… not because I was forced to by the gentle hands of the OLCC. In addition to that post, there is a good bit explaining why alcohol cannot be self-served.

Oregon requires all servers obtain a servers permit. This mind-numbing 4 hour class is occasionally paid for by your workplace, but basically, a server has to fork over $23 bucks to get their permit. Recently, the OLCC has added an online class (Not like you could cheat on that!) so basically this farce has become a way to extract money from servers and put the legal liability on them in the event of an accident or underage sale. Why has the OLCC remained fervent that you cannot self-serve alcohol? They have made the statement that businesses are unable to mix humans and alcohol with public safety*.

My favorite OLCC shenanigan is their decoy operations that make Plaid Pantry employees paranoid as hell. Part “To Catch A Predator” meets “COPS”, these stings involve barely-legal teens attempting to buy alcohol with invalid identification. You know it’s “Hanson” time when bars and stores appear on the edge. Heard this line? “Sorry, have to check everyone’s ID. OLCC has been handin’ out fines this week”.

Let me share with you this comment made on BlueOregon:
“Years ago I was at The Marathon where they serve small pitchers which are basically about 32 ounces. These are “individual” pitchers. I was joking around with someone and took a drink directly from the pitcher – not at all planning on drinking the entire thing. I was promptly approached by a very large bouncer and told that I cannot drink from the pitcher per OLCC rules because I could feasibly get drunk too fast (as opposed to drinking one pint after the other). So I obediently poured my beer into the provided glass – and, to prove a point, drank it with a straw.

I showed them.
Had to figure out another way home – but I showed ’em.”

There have long been calls to abolish the OLCC, but like so many other government-run agencies, this one has become so entrenched, we will probably never be rid of it.

*Teresa Kaiser you are my hero!

31 thoughts on “#45 The OLCC

  1. Pingback: Portland Bar Law – PDX Hack

  2. Yup. I’m a bouncer and my fianc√© is a bartender. We both deal with those assholes constantly. They find me hundreds of dollars at the door of my club one night because my pocket had a hole in that I didn’t know about until they asked for my security license. It had fallen out in the club somewhere after I got to work. After the show, I found it by the stage during clean up. They still fined me anyway. Damn booze Nazis. I have nothing but pure hatred for anybody who works for the olcc.

  3. olcc needs to shove it. And people who think its a good idea need to shove it right along with them. Right to refuse service, and a list of other signs, such as no left turn or left turn only….what is weird to me is that it is not the alcohol part that is the problem, but the vehicle part….so why not make getting a vehicle more difficult? Why not require every driver to pass the drinking alcohol section there? Because the point is in the numbers, right. I see the people arguing that getting the permit is such an awesome idea….okay just require that same class to be taken to get a drivers license. I mean isn’t it any wonder you cant obtain a permit if you have dui convictions. Its right there in black and white, hippy Oregon had to pass on it being part of a driving exam and make it part of an eating exam. Because a true hippy wouldnever be caught dead in a restaurant. Bam, case solved. OLCC is just a dept. of transportation!!! Haha! It is the person who is drinking the alcohol own responsibility for their intake, not the person/party/ or establishment. Servers of any establishment have a right to refuse service to any person, especially if they seem intoxicated before they have a drink. As for all matters concerning the olcc test. Of course it’s all a scam people, that is why if you want to get something ruined or abolished you multiply it out of control and you go for it to be available to all the people, that people handling food and serving alcohol aren’t special, that every person that obtains a driving license in Oregon be required to take this class and renew it the same way. You’ll get some real answers then from the bureaucrats, because that would require them to really run things and we all know they can’t. They have their programs to wound sections trying to damage parts of the group, but they can’t hurt the whole group or that would be murder.

    • I have five(5) DUII convictions and have served twenty four(24) months in state prison. Upon release, I was given a service permit. I can’t drive for the rest of my life without serious(another 24 momths) consequences, but i can legally pour drinks.

  4. Good things about OLCC:
    2nd highest revenue earner in the state – doesn’t see a dime of it, it all goes to imortant things like schools, etc.
    Provides services designed to increase awareness of the dangers associated with drinking…yes people there are dangers. I love to drink as much of the next person, but come on. How did everyone miss safey first.

    Bad things:

    California provides cheaper liquor. Except it doesn’t. Look at the recent article written in the willamette newspaper (which dislikes the OLCC) – Oregon prices are cheaper across the board. But wait, I can get Jack Daniels cheaper you say! Look up loss leader my friend.

    Come on people do some basic research before hatin on something.

    • This has nothing to do with California, you also can by liquor at the grocery store. t isn’t about the prices it is when and where the liquor is bought that the OLCC is controlling. Along with their side scam to scr-word of money from the servers because they can’t take it from anyone else because their focus is alcohol. The prices are not the issue unless you are trying to take the partyhound/drunkee point of view about galloon this and that and I pay $2 more. No one argues about the $300 price tag for a $40 bottle at a club….so, what is your point. Call up any dance club with “bottle service” a carafe of 2 juices and a bucket of ice…..that is service? seriously where is the olcc when that huge bottle is set down? You better check urself before you wreck yourself is words of wisdom for the olcc. lol.

    • California absolutely has cheaper liquor. MUCH cheaper. I can buy a half gallon of cheap whiskey for $10 almost anywhere there. How is that not cheaper? Even garbage whiskey here is still twice that.

  5. I’ll just add here, the application fee is $23 bucks. My in-person class was $35 plus $10 in cash for writing a personal check, not to mention the $15 for a food handler’s card….just to serve people alcohol which I’ve been doing responsibly in other states for 10 years.

  6. Actually the online classes are only for renewal. The classroom ‘in person’ class is required for all fist time applicants and those who have allowed their permits to expire for over 3 years. As far as drinking from a pitcher that is a ‘house’ rule not an OLCC rule at all. Stacking drinks, only plastic cups during shows, no doubles etc… the bars actually have their own ‘house’ rules on such matters, (unless they have had problems and were mandated by the OLCC) but they still choose to blame the OLCC so they don’t have to explain why they chose to do it that way. House rules can be more strict than State alcohol laws.

  7. Two years. $350,000,000 provided to Oregon.
    Yep, that’s around ten percent of the states budget.
    How many more teachers, firefighters and police officers do you want to see laid off on the street.
    Oh ya tear down OLCC and cut more revenue out of the budget.
    Pay for more unemployment, while at the same time have fewer people paying there taxes (state revenue).
    WOW. SIgn me up too. Lets make things worse.

  8. It’s a useless racket that takes up 6 long hours of hotel and restaurant employees time to teach them “don’t serve minors/don’t serve drunks”. Oh and $50+ of their money, too. In other states a manager will simply remind a new server of Dram Shop Laws or similar statutes during their orientation. With similar success results.

    The OLCC also employs some very stupid people. When I worked for the Rose Garden, our representative was the most painfully green, clueless girl I had ever seen. My favorite was when she told us if passports were in a language (and remember, the OLCC used to not accept passports as valid ID) we didn’t know, we couldn’t accept them. I had to explain to her that given their international nature, nearly all passports were written with at least ONE popular second language (BTW, English, Spanish and French are among those) along with the native language.

    She didn’t even know US Passports have always been bilingual (English/French) and for at least 10 or 15 years trilingual (English/French/Spanish). And why was she speaking to us? To teach about checking ID’s and their validity.

  9. OLCC does not use taxpayer’s fund…they operate soley on fee’s generated from the sale of alcohol. Also, they provided 180+ million dollars to the general fund..that’s a good chunk of change to be giving back to Oregon.

  10. The OLCC is the biggest crock of s**t in this state. I have a friend who was next in line (randomly chosen of course) to open a liquor store in Portland, when someone (his relative, who held a big shot position in the OLCC) got a DUI and he suddenly lost his randomly selected privilege of being next in line.

    It’s a damn embarrassment that this state actually has a state-run, tax-payer-funded good-old-boys operation that somehow has the legal right to control a legal substance. It’s bulls**t, and the only reason it doesn’t get taken down is because of the cowardice of the people not willing to stand up for what is right instead of what is “best for the children” or whatever other crap the legislature feeds us.

    These bastards are drinking our milkshakes!

    • Its unconstitutional as well. Just like all of the stuff all the other alphabet agencies do. Our government has overstepped its bounds in every way. Its your constitutional right to get as drunk as you want but you are responsible for your actions while you’re drunk. Just because some people can’t behave around booze doesn’t mean the rest of us should be affected.

    • you’re dumb. if you dont like the way things are ran in your state, OR COUNTRY. you shouldnt leave to another place. you should try and change it. do something other then run away. besides the only bonus cali has to it, is you can buy in a grocery store.

    • herp derp! you don’t like the way our backwurds, third class state does thangs, go back to whur you came from!!!!

      f**king locals; i swear…. i thought people down south were stupidly regionalistic, but they have nothing on oregonians.

  11. What I don’t get is why is it illegal for a bartender to do a shot but it’s legal for a stripper to let a guy basically give her a gyno exam on the rack while he’s drinking a jack and coke? Not allowed anywhere else except Michigan and Florida, if I am correct on that, not sure. Bartenders can drink in pretty much every other state.

  12. How upstanding the OLCC is, their president forcing public figures involved in alcohol-related crime to resign. Thanks for including the link about Teresa Kaiser.

  13. Ask anyone who lost a loved one or friend if it’s a good idea to educate the folks who serve alcohol once every five years. Ask a server being sued by the parents of a dead child how important it is to protect oneself against these lawsuits. Serving alcohol is a serious business – deadly serious. A few hours out of their day and few bucks out of their pocket is a VERY SMALL price to pay for the information and education one gets for being a server of alcohol. I pray that you are not one of the 10,000 people that will be injured this year, or one of the 200 who will be killed this year in an alcohol-related crash.

    Be well.

    • i am sorry if you had lost a loved one. but no matter what it is not the fault of the dealer (a bartender is a legal drug dealer) what some one does with them selves, or how much they drink. people can get liquor on their own they never need it served to them. you cannot control what some one does on booze, nor any other drug, should stop blaming those drugs, the people that sell them. you need to blame the person on them. it’s just like any pharmicudical drug out there. they are prescribed for a NEED not necissarily a pleasure. some times a persons recommended dose is too much and they wreck or what have you. ciggs, and booze have the same labels, but you dont see people blaming the pharmacy, and still rarely the person whom prescribed the drug. besides, people die of thousands of other things, including their own stupidy. the world is overpopulated any who.

  14. OLCC is a good thing. It help keep alcholic loosers off the streets and home where they can drink their racks of Coors Light and fall off their own decks. States that don’t have these regulations have much more drunk driving accidents and idiots. What’s up with racist boy, Aaron V. You’re a douche.

    • you are silly if you think some one drinking home, is going to keep them off the street any more then drinking at an establishment.

    • Really? Because Europe has far less control on alcohol than America and they have far less alcohol related crimes. Control does not necessarily mean less crime, in fact, it usually means more. Create a law and you create criminals. There’s a reason prohibition ended. Prohibition actually directly caused the organized crime wave in the 20s and 30s.

  15. Don’t forget the Safeway on MLK – it’s easier for an Arab to get on an airplane than it is to buy beer there, thanks to the OLCC afraid of all the Negroes getting uppity on the biz-eer.

  16. And these are the same clowns who caved into the yuppie parent brigade and let them bring their spawn and SUV strollers to the Oregon Brewers Festival.

  17. The OLCC will probably leave the state about the time pump-your-own gas does. You have way too many idiot bureaucrats in Salem who want to take their frustrations on everybody else.

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