Safeway, Town & Country getting ready for liquor sales

June is just around the corner, and with it will come long sunny days, summer vacations — and private liquor sales.

Bainbridge Island stores have already begun preparing for the transition.

Currently, Safeway is looking to take a shot at liquor sales and is in the middle of remodeling a portion of its wine and beer department. The stock of beer has been moved around the store this week while a new aisle is being constructed to make room for an extensive space to accommodate liquor products.

Representatives at Safeway did not respond to requests for comment, though employees at the Bainbridge Village location acknowledged the work being done to prepare for liquor sales starting June 1.

Town & Country is also looking to get taste of the spirits market, though they are taking a cautious approach.

The company, which owns five locations in the Puget Sound area, will test liquor sales at two of its stores — one of which will be the Winslow market. The company is currently in the process of applying for its liquor license.

"We are going to integrate it into the current wine and beer location at the store," said Bill Weymer of Town & Country Markets. "We will realign some shelving and create some space for it."

While the market plans to carry common brands, Weymer said that the market is looking to offer more of the small craft distilleries that call Washington state home. He said that the company is looking to integrate spirits with the style and selection already present at the market.

"We have pretty significant wine and beer departments, and we like the idea of pairing wine with food," Weymer said. "And there are opportunities for pairings spirits with great meals, too."

The fate of the island's only liquor store also remains a partial mystery.

The state is currently auctioning off its liquor store locations, which include all the fixtures and the right to sell sprits. The auction began in March and will end on April 19.

The state is running two auctions simultaneously, one to sell off individual locations and another to sell all of its locations to one buyer. The state will take whichever bid is of highest value.

The accumulative bids for individual stores are approximately double the current high bid of $760,000 for all of the locations, according to officials at the State Liquor Control Board.

There are 15 bids for the Bainbridge Island liquor store, with the current highest bid listed as $3,120.


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