Washington Bans Cheap Booze

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Washington Bans Cheap Booze

SEATTLE -- The Washington State Liquor Control Board has unanimously voted to ban 29 brands of inexpensive, high-alcohol content beverages in several Seattle neighborhoods, in an effort to reduce concerns, including panhandling and litter with homeless alcoholics in the area, The Seattle Times reported.

More than six square miles of Seattle -- including Capitol Hill and the University District -- have been named "alcohol impact areas," by the state board. Board chairman Merritt Long told The Associated Press that the board was persuaded by residents' complaints of public drinking, and added that there are more than 4,000 other brands of alcoholic beverages available in the state. "There is not going to be a lack of beer or wine available," Long told The Seattle Times.

Local convenience store owners were among the opponents of the ban, citing that the new legislation will put a damper on business. "Some people say it's not going to affect business, but it is going to drop sales, I know that," James Lee, president of the Korean Grocers Association of Washington, told the Times. "If they drop a few hundred dollars a day, it is going to be a big difference in their incomes."

The ban -- requested by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels -- includes such brands as Olde English 800, Colt 45, Steel Reserve and fortified wine brand, Cisco. Store owners must stop the sale of the brands by November 1.