Statewide liquor sales by volume rose a modest 2.9 percent through September, helped by consumer purchases but pulled lower by a drop in wholesale sales, according to data released Tuesday by the state Department of Revenue.
Liquor privatization in Washington was voter approved and took effect in June.
Sales by volume rose nearly 3 percent from June through September, compared with the same period last year when liquor was sold and regulated by the state.
Consumer purchases rose 7.9 percent in the same four-month period, compared with last year, while bar and restaurant purchases fell 12.6 percent.
The state Department of Revenue attributed the decline in wholesale sales to the following possible factors: higher prices, weaker demand, supply issues, and the fact that bars and restaurants might still not need to replenish inventories because they stocked up before the June 1 privatization date.
As for higher prices, the average retail price of a liter of spirits, including taxes, rose 11.6 percent to $24.09 in September from $21.58 last year.