Need cheap booze? Stay in town!

TRI-CITIES, Wash.. -- Plenty of people are still flocking to Oregon, but KEPR found the cheapest costs are right here in town.

The news doesn't get more sobering. In the past year, more than 60 mom and pop liquor stores shut down in Washington, as customers choose other places to buy their booze.

"I never thought I would struggle this much," says Liquor store owner Rajiv Malhan "Instead of the state helping us, they've hindered us."

Liquor stores expected sales to improve in the summer, but a 20% tax on hard alcohol often sends people to Oregon looking to score a better deal.

It's that line of thinking that is causing major hurt for the employees who work at private liquor stores. When the store opened up, there were 28 employees, but today, there are only nine.

"That was the hardest part. It paid the bills and it was their livelihood," says Malhan

As mom and pop stores struggle, KEPR wondered if prices in Oregon are really that better.

We compared the cost of three popular bottles of booze at Mid-Columbia Wine and Spirits, Safeway and Walmart.

Walmart was the cheapest every time.

Even more surprising, Walmart was cheaper than Oregon's liquor store for the Grey Goose and Captain Morgan's and only slightly more for the Jim Beam.

The prices include the state-mandated tax, so it doesn't appear it's worth the drive south.