OLCC Warehouse at 99% Capacity

Recent liquor sales data indicates consumers are continuing to buy less liquor by volume but are buying more “top shelf” products according to Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission Distilled Spirits Program Director Chris Mayton. Tequila sales continue to trend skyward and sales of premade cocktails (Cocktails-in-a-Can) have nearly doubled in the past year. Mayton indicated the overall result has been continued growth in liquor sales.

But that growth is restricted by the limited storage available in the current OLCC warehouse which is at 98 percent capacity. That threatens the OLCC’s position as the state’s third largest revenue generator, contributing more than $600 million every biennium (click on sales and revenue tabs) to the state’s budget, including $19 million for addiction programs across the state during the most recent budget period. Plans for building a new warehouse in a Canby business park were scrutinized in recent news coverage.

OLCC Chair Paul Rosenbaum addressed the issue by underscoring that properties for building a warehouse were scarce to begin with when OLCC started looking three years ago. Those locations shrank from nine to four properties after some were snapped up by other buyers; ultimately just one location remained that could work.

“We either pay the premium for a very good optimal piece of property for business operations because no other properties were available, or we would endure a revenue loss in the 2025-27 revenue budget,” said Rosenbaum.

Even a one-month delay from the OLCC's anticipated Sept. 1, 2025, opening of the new warehouse would cost the state more in lost revenue than the premium paid for the property. If the warehouse opened October 1, 2025 rather than September 1, 2025 it would mean $16 million less in sales due to insufficient capacity at the existing warehouse.

“That’s simply a business decision,” Rosenbuam concluded.

Under the current construction timeline, the new OLCC warehouse is targeted to be move-in ready by September 2025. Each year of delay from that point forward would increase what the state “leaves on the table”, when normal demand growth plus an increase in the state’s population are compared to existing warehouse capacity.

In a 2019 study, Deloitte Consulting projected the potential sales loss to be $229.8 million in 2026, increasing to $383.3 million in calendar year 2029 and totaling $1.2 billion over that four-year span.