Liquor, convenience stores welcoming changes to Oklahoma alcohol laws

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OKLAHOMA CITY - For many liquor stores and convenience shops, Monday marked the beginning of a new era.

A voter-approved overhaul of liquor laws started Monday. Under the constitutional amendment known as State Question 792, liquor stores are permitted to sell cold beer while convenience stores can sell strong beer and wine.

"The moment we heard ‘go’, we’ve been working and preparing for this. Remodels… the employee licensing, there’s just been so many different factors that have gone into it," said Laura Aufleger with OnCue.

Aufleger, who serves as vice president of Corporate Communication for the chain, said the licensing process began months ago. As for the preparation for new selections, they have been going store to store to add beer caves for ones that were not already equipped.

"It’s going to be trial and error for a while, because we don’t know exactly what people are going to want to buy and what’s going to sell," Aufleger said. "Especially with wine, because that’s a whole new market for us."

Scott Minton, director of Market Development for OnCue, said the beer caves will still include domestic beers. However, the stores will also now carry microbrews and other types of local and international beers.

"It does cost a lot to go back and redesign something that was already built," Minton said. "It’s an expensive endeavor, but we do feel like our customers do not want it but are demanding it, so we’re very happy to have additional capacity to bring in new beers and some local beers."

Vance Gregory, owner of Edmond Wine Shop, said they specialize in wines from California, Spain, Italy and France; however, their store has always carried high-end spirits and craft beers. Their newly-available cold beer will now be stocked in a freezer set at 40 degrees on the other end of the store, next to shelves of their other beers.

"That took a lot of planning and a lot of coordination with the city of Edmond to make sure we’re meeting all of those regulations and ABLE commission as well," Gregory said. "We’re not allowed to stay open right now on Sundays. There’s a provision for that, which takes a county vote to allow that to occur but, until then, that’s really going to hurt because grocery stores can sell on Sundays as well as convenience and other retail wine sites."

Even so, customers like Howard Johnson told News 4 their loyalty isn't going anywhere.

"We know Amy. We know Vance," Johnson said. "This one is good. We like their selection. I don’t know. Maybe I’m a wine snob, I just like the better wines they have here."

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