Competition and cost, will expanded alcohol sales lower prices? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/11/09

Competition and cost, will expanded alcohol sales lower prices?

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By Ben Lawson  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - For years Lubbock County residents paid as liquor stores priced. Some customers felt limited competition caused them to pay more. Now, they predict when more stores start to sell, they'll see prices sink.

A comparison by Lubbock County Wins, the group who supported expanded alcohol sales, suggests Lubbock residents do pay more. The group surveyed five Lubbock County alcohol retailers on May 1st. They compared the cost to prices at an Austin supermarket and wine store. At that time, their comparison showed Lubbock customers paid an average of 38% more for the same beverages than customers in Austin.

NewsChannel 11 told you that local supermarkets and convenience stores plan to sell alcohol as soon as they're permitted.  Now, we're learning more about what competition could mean for your tab.  "We knew we were paying more here, but we just didn't know to what extent," Melissa Pierce with Lubbock County Wins said. 

After comparing prices between Lubbock and Austin, Pierce was surprised to discover such a difference. "Everything was more," Pierce said. Organizers say one of the biggest surprises for them was the price difference of Llano Estacado Wine, because it's just a few miles south on Highway 87 from "The Strip".  "In Austin it was a little over $10.00, and here in Lubbock, where it's made right down the street, it was nearly $16.00," Pierce said. 

"You know, a dry county obviously can charge more, because people have to go get it if they want it," one Lubbock County resident said. Some residents aren't surprised by Lubbock County Wins' comparison, but others say alcohol is not over priced in Lubbock County. "Actually, I don't think so. I think it's reasonable," another Lubbock County resident said. 

Still, increased competition has many predicting prices will go down. "I'm pretty sure, after it goes on for a while, the price will go down also," one Lubbock County resident said. "It should, I don't know if it will, but it should," another Lubbock County resident said. 

"This is a big deal for us," Lubbock 7-Eleven Market Manager Ryan Suttles said. Suttles tells NewsChannel 11 his 22 stores plan to sell alcohol, and he expects the costs to customers will decrease, some. "Huge price difference, that remains to be seen, but probably moderate," Suttles said. 

NewsChannel 11 contacted Pinkies Incorporated. They did not wish to make a comment on future prices. Majestic Liquor Stores Incorporated, owner of several area alcohol stores, did not return our request for comment.

Lubbock County Liquor Sales Map
Liquor by the drink boundary and packaged liquor sales map for Lubbock County. (You will need Adobe Acrobat to open this file)

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