Wine and beer: 792 changes? Not really, but a lot is different
As a result of the passage of SQ792 (which then triggered companion bill SB 383) in November 2016, voters approved just a few changes in our retail beer, wine and liquor scene. The legislature then enacted a number of measures to provide a regulatory framework to accommodate the "high points," if you will, of 792. Here's a quick rundown of some of the changes you'll see on Oct. 1.
- The biggest change: wine and chilled, "full-strength" beer can be sold in grocery and convenience/drug stores (though there are still some limits on alcohol content that would affect some particularly strong beers, those above 15 percent).
- Grocery and convenience/drug stores can sell beer and wine from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. any day of the week.
- Liquor stores can now be open until midnight if they choose - no more hurried trips at 8:50 p.m.!
Liquor stores can sell chilled beer and wine as well - no more warm stuff!
- Liquor stores can also sell items other than alcohol for the first time - think mixers, corkscrews, soft drinks, accessories and other accoutrements - as long as the sale of items other than alcoholic beverages remains at 20 percent or less than their monthly sales.
- Small breweries can now produce up to 65,000 barrels per year and still operate a taproom (previously they were "tapped" at only 25,000 barrels).
- Breweries can operate their taprooms until 2 a.m. instead of closing at 9 p.m. - go ahead and finish watching that Thunder game!
- Small wineries (those that produce less than 15,000 gallons of wine annually) can sell and ship wine directly to restaurants and retailers rather than a wholesaler if they choose.
- An owner of a liquor store (that is, a store that sells spirits) can now own two stores rather than just one.
- Wineries can ship directly to Oklahoma consumers, up to 30 nine-liter cases per person (there is no way you could or should drink this much wine, however).
- Movie theaters can sell beer, wine and spirits if appropriately licensed.
- Advertising or offering "happy hour" specials is now totally legal!
- Clerks that sell high-point beer and wine at grocery/convenience stores now have to be 18 rather than 16. Liquor store employees still have to be 21 since they're selling the hard stuff.
- SB 211 allows counties to hold elections to decide if liquor stores can be open on Sundays.