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Bill to modernize Oklahoma’s liquor laws passes Senate

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that claims it will modernize Oklahoma’s liquor laws passed the state Senate.

Senate Joint Resolution 68 would open the doors at the supermarket to wines and single-strength beer.

“Oklahoma consumers are demanding changes in the alcohol laws,” Jolley told NewsChannel 4 in February. “[Smaller stores say] you’re not going to have a reason to go to their liquor store any more, and it’s going to be more convenient. And, that’s what consumers are demanding.”

The resolution passed the Oklahoma State Senate 28-16.

“The independent members of the Beer Distributors of Oklahoma applaud the state Senate for their passage of SJR 68 and commend Senator Clark Jolley for his focused work in seeing the resolution through the Senate. BDO also commends Senator Brian Bingman and Senator Stephanie Bice for their leadership as well on this complex issue. Their collective efforts hopefully will provide the opportunity for Oklahomans to vote November 8th to modernize Oklahoma’s alcohol beverage laws in an equitable, safe and responsible manner. Doing so will protect the independent three-tier system, provide additional consumer choice and convenience and allow Oklahoma craft beer brewers to expand their markets. The alcohol modernization process is complicated, and many stakeholders, including BDO, have participated for many months in complex discussions. SJR 68 is a broad-based resolution that will accomplish the type of responsible alcohol modernization Oklahomans have stated they desire,” Brett Robinson, the president of the Beer Distributors of Oklahoma, said.

Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser, ran a social media campaign against the bill, but a change in language won them over.

“We have always supported modernization, but not at the cost of our business and jobs in Oklahoma. We are pleased that the current legislation allows us to maintain our operations and employees in Oklahoma, while giving Oklahoma beer drinkers what they are looking for- cold, strong beer through a distribution system that provides both quality and convenience. We look forward to continue working closely with all parties to ensure true modernization si achieved for the Oklahoma consumer,” said Eric James, senior director of sales and marketing.

However, not everyone was thrilled with the bill.

The Retail Liquor Association said the laws need to be changed, but Jolley’s bill is not the way to do it.

“The people who own retail and package stores are scared, because those who aren’t being threatened to be completely put out of business are being threatened to have to get rid of employees that have worked for them for a long time,” Bryan Kerr said. “There’s a lot of fear among retail and package stores that all of this money is going to move from the local economy and their pockets and their employers’ pockets and move into Walmart and then go right out of the state.”

Voters will voice their opinion on the bill in November if it passes the House.