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!