BEND, Ore. - The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is looking to add about 10 liquor stores across 14 counties in central, northern and Eastern Oregon, including Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties. It's making stops around the state to discuss those plans, and Wednesday was Bend's turn.
Agency officials said the number of outlets hasn't expanded in a while and it needs to keep pace with the growth of the state.
"We haven't kept up with the population growth over the last 30 years, so moving forward we're trying to add more liquor stores or more retail liquor locations where people can go in and buy distilled spirits," OLCC Alcohol Program spokesperson Christie Scott said.
But the commission says it's going to be picky over the applications. It's looking for unique ideas to generate good business.
"Any kind of really creative, innovative, entrepreneurial idea that showcases that Oregonian pioneering spirit," Scott said. "That's what we want to hear."
That pioneering nature is something they really want to emphasize in the application review process.
Whether it be wine, spirits or beer, a lot of people look to Oregonians and Oregon as a place where they can breed small business," Oregon Director of Distilled Spirits Brian Flemming said.
The agency also will be looking at synergy with existing businesses.
"It could be a record store that sells high-end whiskeys or some sort of boutique store," Scott said. "It could be a full-scale liquor store, if someone has an idea for that."
The Bend Food 4 Less is hoping to submit an application that includes the idea of blending the liquor outlet into its existing operation.
"We'd be applying for the application to sell it within the business," store manager Aaron Price said. "And we actually already have a location inside the building that would just take a little bit to get up and running."
This would be the biggest liquor store expansion in Oregon since Prohibition.
The application window is open until July 31.