#45 The OLCC

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!


22 Responses to “#45 The OLCC”

  1. 1 Gonna get hate mail for what I post lol 04/18 at 10:18 am

    Good things about OLCC:
    2nd highest revenue earner in the state – doesn’t see a dime of it, it all goes to imortant things like schools, etc.
    Provides services designed to increase awareness of the dangers associated with drinking…yes people there are dangers. I love to drink as much of the next person, but come on. How did everyone miss safey first.

    Bad things:

    California provides cheaper liquor. Except it doesn’t. Look at the recent article written in the willamette newspaper (which dislikes the OLCC) – Oregon prices are cheaper across the board. But wait, I can get Jack Daniels cheaper you say! Look up loss leader my friend.

    Come on people do some basic research before hatin on something.

  2. 2 Ama (Amanda Rentschler) 01/31 at 7:37 pm

    I’ll just add here, the application fee is $23 bucks. My in-person class was $35 plus $10 in cash for writing a personal check, not to mention the $15 for a food handler’s card….just to serve people alcohol which I’ve been doing responsibly in other states for 10 years.

  3. 3 Theresa 12/31 at 8:10 pm

    Actually the online classes are only for renewal. The classroom ‘in person’ class is required for all fist time applicants and those who have allowed their permits to expire for over 3 years. As far as drinking from a pitcher that is a ‘house’ rule not an OLCC rule at all. Stacking drinks, only plastic cups during shows, no doubles etc… the bars actually have their own ‘house’ rules on such matters, (unless they have had problems and were mandated by the OLCC) but they still choose to blame the OLCC so they don’t have to explain why they chose to do it that way. House rules can be more strict than State alcohol laws.

  4. 4 Repeat 10/16 at 10:31 pm

    Yep! That’s what I thought. No reply by the No party.

  5. 5 Repeat 10/13 at 11:36 pm

    Two years. $350,000,000 provided to Oregon.
    Yep, that’s around ten percent of the states budget.
    How many more teachers, firefighters and police officers do you want to see laid off on the street.
    Oh ya tear down OLCC and cut more revenue out of the budget.
    Pay for more unemployment, while at the same time have fewer people paying there taxes (state revenue).
    WOW. SIgn me up too. Lets make things worse.

  6. 6 zumpie 04/16 at 11:23 am

    It’s a useless racket that takes up 6 long hours of hotel and restaurant employees time to teach them “don’t serve minors/don’t serve drunks”. Oh and $50+ of their money, too. In other states a manager will simply remind a new server of Dram Shop Laws or similar statutes during their orientation. With similar success results.

    The OLCC also employs some very stupid people. When I worked for the Rose Garden, our representative was the most painfully green, clueless girl I had ever seen. My favorite was when she told us if passports were in a language (and remember, the OLCC used to not accept passports as valid ID) we didn’t know, we couldn’t accept them. I had to explain to her that given their international nature, nearly all passports were written with at least ONE popular second language (BTW, English, Spanish and French are among those) along with the native language.

    She didn’t even know US Passports have always been bilingual (English/French) and for at least 10 or 15 years trilingual (English/French/Spanish). And why was she speaking to us? To teach about checking ID’s and their validity.

  7. 7 Chris 03/20 at 10:38 pm

    OLCC does not use taxpayer’s fund…they operate soley on fee’s generated from the sale of alcohol. Also, they provided 180+ million dollars to the general fund..that’s a good chunk of change to be giving back to Oregon.

  8. 8 Todd 11/28 at 11:23 pm

    The OLCC is the biggest crock of shit in this state. I have a friend who was next in line (randomly chosen of course) to open a liquor store in Portland, when someone (his relative, who held a big shot position in the OLCC) got a DUI and he suddenly lost his randomly selected privilege of being next in line.

    It’s a damn embarrassment that this state actually has a state-run, tax-payer-funded good-old-boys operation that somehow has the legal right to control a legal substance. It’s bullshit, and the only reason it doesn’t get taken down is because of the cowardice of the people not willing to stand up for what is right instead of what is “best for the children” or whatever other crap the legislature feeds us.

    These bastards are drinking our milkshakes!

  9. 9 MarkL 11/03 at 1:22 pm

    If you don’t like the way that oregon does things, go back to Cali!!

    • 10 fizzen dorf 05/21 at 5:40 pm

      you’re dumb. if you dont like the way things are ran in your state, OR COUNTRY. you shouldnt leave to another place. you should try and change it. do something other then run away. besides the only bonus cali has to it, is you can buy in a grocery store.

    • 11 a.grey 01/08 at 8:23 pm

      herp derp! you don’t like the way our backwurds, third class state does thangs, go back to whur you came from!!!!

      fucking locals; i swear…. i thought people down south were stupidly regionalistic, but they have nothing on oregonians.

  10. 12 bartendress in Portland 10/16 at 11:29 pm

    What I don’t get is why is it illegal for a bartender to do a shot but it’s legal for a stripper to let a guy basically give her a gyno exam on the rack while he’s drinking a jack and coke? Not allowed anywhere else except Michigan and Florida, if I am correct on that, not sure. Bartenders can drink in pretty much every other state.

  11. 13 Spencer 09/27 at 5:12 pm

    How upstanding the OLCC is, their president forcing public figures involved in alcohol-related crime to resign. Thanks for including the link about Teresa Kaiser.

  12. 14 SailingHanu 09/24 at 9:11 pm

    Ask anyone who lost a loved one or friend if it’s a good idea to educate the folks who serve alcohol once every five years. Ask a server being sued by the parents of a dead child how important it is to protect oneself against these lawsuits. Serving alcohol is a serious business – deadly serious. A few hours out of their day and few bucks out of their pocket is a VERY SMALL price to pay for the information and education one gets for being a server of alcohol. I pray that you are not one of the 10,000 people that will be injured this year, or one of the 200 who will be killed this year in an alcohol-related crash.

    Be well.

    • 15 fizzen dorf 05/21 at 5:44 pm

      i am sorry if you had lost a loved one. but no matter what it is not the fault of the dealer (a bartender is a legal drug dealer) what some one does with them selves, or how much they drink. people can get liquor on their own they never need it served to them. you cannot control what some one does on booze, nor any other drug, should stop blaming those drugs, the people that sell them. you need to blame the person on them. it’s just like any pharmicudical drug out there. they are prescribed for a NEED not necissarily a pleasure. some times a persons recommended dose is too much and they wreck or what have you. ciggs, and booze have the same labels, but you dont see people blaming the pharmacy, and still rarely the person whom prescribed the drug. besides, people die of thousands of other things, including their own stupidy. the world is overpopulated any who.

  13. 16 TLC Tugger 09/05 at 2:05 pm


  14. 17 J 08/13 at 1:37 pm

    OLCC is a good thing. It help keep alcholic loosers off the streets and home where they can drink their racks of Coors Light and fall off their own decks. States that don’t have these regulations have much more drunk driving accidents and idiots. What’s up with racist boy, Aaron V. You’re a douche.

    • 18 Gnar Gash 05/21 at 5:46 pm

      you are silly if you think some one drinking home, is going to keep them off the street any more then drinking at an establishment.

  15. 19 Aaron V. 08/07 at 11:10 pm

    Don’t forget the Safeway on MLK – it’s easier for an Arab to get on an airplane than it is to buy beer there, thanks to the OLCC afraid of all the Negroes getting uppity on the biz-eer.

  16. 20 Laura 08/02 at 12:00 pm

    And these are the same clowns who caved into the yuppie parent brigade and let them bring their spawn and SUV strollers to the Oregon Brewers Festival.

  17. 21 Sid 07/31 at 5:14 pm

    The OLCC will probably leave the state about the time pump-your-own gas does. You have way too many idiot bureaucrats in Salem who want to take their frustrations on everybody else.

  18. 22 pril of the populace 07/31 at 1:47 pm

    I hate the OLCC so much I can’t even put it into words.

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