New liquor laws could put a damper on drinking at tailgates, festivals

OKLAHOMA CITY - It's something that Oklahomans do every year; thousands of Oklahomans buy a beer and walk around festivals or tail-gating parties.

However, new liquor laws that passed in November are changing the rules since all beer will now be high-point.

Tailgating is something Oklahomans take seriously.

"Game days are big on Campus Corner. They're big everywhere in Norman, let's get real," said Jeff Stewart, with O'Connell's Irish Pub and Grille.

The ABLE Commission is now working to create some new regulations before the law takes effect on Oct. 1.

Brent Fairchild, the chief agent for the ABLE Commission, says restaurants will no longer be able to serve beer outside without a license, and fans will no longer be able to roam with their drinks.

All drinking will now have to be done in a designated area, but it comes at a price for businesses.

"They would each have to spend $255 a piece to get an event license," Fairchild explains.

Stewart says it's going to be a trial and error process.

"It's going to be a little different as far as organizations and getting adjusted to the new guidelines," Stewart said.

"I think there's going to be a certain amount of confusion both on their side and our side," he added.

He says he hopes his business won't be impacted.

"For us, the inside volume is much greater than the outside volume. The outside volume is helpful. It`s kind of the icing on the cake so to speak and I`m sure for some of these other businesses, it means a lot to them in a lot of ways," Stewart said.

However, Fairchild says these changes are necessary for the safety of everyone on game days.

"We want every business in the state of Oklahoma to do well and have an opportunity to make good money, we just don`t want that to happen at the expense of somebody's life," he said.

The ABLE Commission says it is still working with Campus Corner businesses to find ways to make sure they don't have to get licenses for every home game or event since Campus Corner is a government-owned street.