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Voters in dry counties vote to modernize liquor laws

CADDO COUNTY, Okla. – While Oklahomans across the state headed to the polls to vote on several high-profile races, voters in 14 ‘dry’ counties also decided whether or not to update their liquor laws.

Several counties had liquor-by-the-drink sales propositions on Tuesday’s ballot, giving voters the choice of whether they want to change their ‘dry’ status and allow on-premise sales of full-strength beer, wine and mixed drinks.

Officials say liquor-by-the-drink sales restrictions have been in place since 1959 when Oklahoma repealed Prohibition. At the time, several counties did not want full-strength beer, wine or liquor to be sold in restaurants, bars or other locations. Instead, they only allowed 3.2 percent beer to be sold in on-premise locations.

Since State Question 792 was approved by voters in 2016, all beer across Oklahoma will be regulated the same way.

“A lot of people don’t realize it’s all or nothing here,” said Joanna Munoz, the owner of Munoz Mexican Restaurant. “You’re either going to get liquor with six-point beer or you get nothing. You won’t be able to buy any beer at all.”

The counties who voted on the proposal are as follows:

  • Adair
  • Alfalfa
  • Beaver
  • Caddo
  • Cimarron
  • Coal
  • Cotton
  • Dewey
  • Harmon
  • Harper
  • Haskell
  • Hughes
  • Roger Mills
  • Washita

Each county on the list voted Tuesday to modernize their liquor laws.

“Oklahoma has officially repealed all Prohibition-era laws! Voters in these 14 “dry” counties understood that a vote against liquor-by-the-drink sales would put local businesses and jobs at risk and harm the future of business in our state. Now, all Oklahomans can embrace alcohol modernization this fall and enjoy a cold, strong beer, glass of wine or mixed drink at dinner, golfing or during a night out with friends no matter what county they visit. The next hurdle businesses must overcome are the lengthy delays in cities and municipalities to rezone these businesses to sell full-strength beer.” – Lisette Barnes, President of the Oklahoma Beer Alliance

The changes go into effect on October 1.