A compromise from the liquor store contingent looks likely to end the stalemate that had blocked approval of strong beer and wine at grocery and convenience stores NACS Online
In the end, it all came down to cold beer. For years, Oklahoma’s convenience retailers have been asking the state legislature to allow them to sell strong beer and wine.
However, opposition from liquor stores made state legislators leery of moving forward with any changes to the state’s liquor laws—until this week, when the Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma threw its considerable approval behind legislation that would allow liquor stores to sell “single-strength refrigerated beer” across the state, the Tulsa World reports. The proposal would also allow convenience and grocery stores sell strong beer and wine.
“What it means is maybe—just maybe—prohibition is going to be over in Oklahoma,” said Mike Thornbrugh, spokesman for QuikTrip. Voters would need to approve the state constitutional change, which wouldn’t be ready for the ballot until the 2016 election cycle.
But the support of the liquor association means the change could reach voters via a legislative vote or an initiative petition by residents. “It’s a win for the consumer because they will get to pick where they buy beer,” said Thornbrugh. “It’s a big win for the liquor stores because now they are going to have refrigeration.”
A lot of work remains on the measure before a full bill would be before the legislature.