Purpose of Practice
Provide regular forums for external stakeholders to collaborate with OLCC and each other on their alcohol-business related policy issues. • Build relationships between OLCC and external stakeholders.
Description of Practice
Since 2004, the OLCC has hosted an annual “business partners” open house with representatives from all Oregon corners of the alcohol beverage industry. These include liquor store agents, liquor licensees, distillery representatives and others from the industry. Licensees, for instance, include on and off-premises – grocery stores, convenience stores, taverns, beer and wine producers and wholesalers. OLCC staff listen to stakeholders’ issues on policies, procedures, opportunities for improved efficiencies and desires for the future. During each year following the open house, OLCC staff and external representatives form subgroups to explore issues and make recommendations to a joint steering committee. The joint steering committee, appointed by the OLCC executive director, comprises OLCC staff and external representatives and meets four to six times a year. The steering committee in turn makes recommendations to the OLCC liquor commissioners. The business partners are working increasingly in conjunction with the OLCC public safety partners in joint subgroups, bridging differences and creating new working relationships. The public safety partners include local law enforcement, union representatives, and moderation groups. Business Partner Subgroups include: • Distilled Spirits Program and Agents • Regulatory • Legal Process • Legislative • Server Education
Success or Improvements
The first couple of annual open houses were well attended. Stakeholders identified dozens of issues they wanted addressed. In recent years, fewer and fewer issues are raised at the annual meetings. Issues are being resolved ongoing, and stakeholders have the year-long forums to work on issues with OLCC; they do not rely on an annual meeting to give their input. Only a handful of issues remain unresolved, attesting to the success of the business partner forums. Some topics raised and discussed over the years in the business partner forums are: • Reviewing liquor agent compensation budget limitations and rates • Communicating with liquor agents and other more about budget proposals • Allowing tastings in liquor stores • Allowing licensees to use credit cards to purchase distilled spirits for their business • Minimum floor pricing for distilled spirits • Allowing liquor stores to sell apparel and glassware with local college logos • Creating an ongoing OLCC-liquor agent group to discuss technical and operational liquor store issues • Changing sanctions for selling to visibly intoxicated persons, to a minor • Allowing minors at any venue or special events • Adding service of bottle of distilled spirits to a group • Making servers more responsible and liable for sales to minors • Requiring all clerks receive training on selling alcohol • Using federal guidelines for financial assistance rules • Checking everyone’s identification • Promoting the local economy by promoting Oregon wine products • Enabling online licensing applications • Promoting the OLCC Responsible Vendor Program • Reducing OLCC’s rulemaking volume • Using press releases in an affirmative way Relationships have strengthened between OLCC and its stakeholders by using these forums.
External stakeholders continue to volunteer to participate year after year in the steering committee and subgroups, attesting to their effectiveness.
Name: Brian Flemming, OLCC Retail Services Director
Address: 9079 9079 SE McLoughlin Blvd., Portland, OR 97222