UPDATE: Senate Bill 383 overwhelmingly passed the Oklahoma State Senate on Wednesday.
The bill will now head to the Oklahoma House of Representatives for consideration.
OKLAHOMA — If one Oklahoma lawmaker gets her way, liquor stores could be selling cold beer later this year.
Senator Stephanie Bice’s Senate Bill 383, that gives liquor stores the option of refrigerating high percentage beer, passed Senate Committee Thursday.
Dale Blackburn owns Grand Cru and says, with over 1,600 different varieties of beer, business is good.
He says if coolers were allowed in liquor stores, business would get even better.
“It helps convenience. If you’re on your way to the lake or something like that, you don’t have to wait until it cools, you’re ready to go.” Blackburn said.
However, there is opposition to the bill.
Mohammed Mezgaldi says his business has made it easy for customers. They’ve filled their coolers with cold beer, and hand them out to customers in a drive-thru.
But if the bill passes, he’s worried business could suffer.
“We’re going to have less traffic. There’s not going to be a need for a customer to come in here and buy beer if they can buy a higher percentage beer at the liquor store that’s also cold,” Mezgaldi said.
Blackburn doesn’t agree.
“People who drink the higher point, they basically drink the higher point all the time,” Blackburn said.
The bill allows liquor stores to chill high percentage booze, but convenience stores have to stick to the 3.2 beer.
“This is just a big headache for small convenience store owners all over Oklahoma, to see competition from liquor stores. Selling cold beers is one of the advantages we have over a liquor store,” Mezgaldi said.
The bill will be decided on within the coming weeks.