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Report: Unions sue to stop Wash. liquor privatization

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — The state government of Washington is set to bow out of the liquor business on June 1 thanks to a ballot initiative that passed last month, but two labor unions are hoping to stop it, according to published reports.

The Seattle Times reported Wednesday that unions representing nearly 1,000 workers who would lose their jobs due to the initiative had sued in King County Superior Court for an injunction against the initiative. Initiative 1183 called for the privatization of wholesale and retail sales of liquor, which are currently limited to a state-owned wholesaler, state-owned liquor stores and several privately owned liquor stores under contract with the state government.

The unions — the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21 and the Teamsters Local 174 — said the initiative violated Article II, Section 19 of the Washington Constitution, which states that a bill or initiative can only embrace one issue. The Times reported that the unions were using a common and sometimes successful legal tactic.

I-1183 received most of its backing from Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco Wholesale, which footed $22.5 million of the $22.7 million total, making it the largest single donor to a state initiative in Washington’s history. Following implementation, any retailer with at least 10,000 sq. ft. of retail space will be allowed to sell liquor. Washington is one of 19 "control states" — states in which the government directly controls wholesaling or retailing of certain alcoholic beverages, especially liquor — and one of nine control states in which the government controls both. Assuming I-1183 is implemented on June 1, Washington will become a "license state."

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Huggies announces 2011 MomInspired grant recipients

BY Allison Cerra

DALLAS — Kimberly-Clark’s Huggies brand has named nine grant recipients for its MomInspired program.

Huggies’ MomInspired grant program — which provides seed capital and resources to help fund women-owned business startups and new product innovations inspired by personal motherhood challenges and experiences — this year unveiled nine ideas that address a diverse range of parenting, baby and child care product and service solutions. In the two years of the program, Huggies MomInspired has solicited nearly 1,000 product and service idea applications addressing unmet parenting needs and has awarded $315,000 in grant money — $15,000 each to 21 women.

“It’s been very rewarding to see last year’s grant recipients reach critical business milestones this past year,” said Kelly Stephenson, senior brand manager for the Huggies brand. “We are positive this new class will reach the same level of success and are excited to welcome our newest ‘parenting problem-solvers’ into the MomInspired family.”

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Pyramid introduces new packaging for three beers; slated to roll out new items in 2012

BY Allison Cerra

SEATTLE — Pyramid Breweries has overhauled its packaging for three of its beers.

The company said its flagship Pyramid Hefeweizen beer, along with the brand’s Apricot Ale and Thunderhead IPA, will include pyramids as the focal point of the new design, along with a new font, both of which are designed as a tribute to the brand’s original look and feel. Pyramid said it will apply the new look to all of its year-round beers, including six and 12-pack bottles, 22-oz. bottles and draught beer tap handles, later this month.

"The new Pyramid design better reflects the rich tradition and heritage of the Pyramid brand and our Pacific Northwest home," Pyramid brand manager Ryan Daley said. "Consumers can expect to see new packaging that brings back the iconic pyramids, featured among mountains and trees, reinforcing our Pacific Northwest roots that date back to 1984."

In addition to the packaging overhaul, the company also announced that in 2012, one of its seasonal beers, Pyramid Outburst, will become available all year round. Pyramid also will debut approximately 11 new beers next year.

"We know that continuous innovation is key for our craft beer consumers," Daley said. "We’re looking forward to 2012 as we create more unique varieties and experiences for people to discover and enjoy our beers."

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