Alcohol Modernization Supporters Rally To Support In SQ 792

Wednesday, July 27th 2016, 6:08 pm

Backers of alcohol sales modernization kicked off a campaign Wednesday to try to get "yes" votes on the state question in November. 

But small mom and pop liquor stores say those “yes” votes could put them out of business.

Senator Stephanie Bice, R-District 22, said the reforms are long overdue.  

"We haven't had significant reforms in over 57 years, and Oklahomans are asking for something new and different," she said.

That "something new and different" is State Question 792, which would allow Oklahoma voters to decide whether to change the state Constitution to allow grocery and convenience stores to sell full strength beer and wine.

"We believe that 'yes' on 792 will create more jobs and provide more sales tax revenue for the state of Oklahoma,” said Kiley Raper with the Oklahoma Retail Merchants Association. “We believe that 'yes' on 792 will empower the local craft brew industry to offer more choices in more places."

Roy Williams with the Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce agreed. 

"Oklahoma is a little bit out of sync with the rest of the nation, and we're viewed differently because of these kinds of quirks," he said.

Opponents say the changes could lower sales for local liquor stores and force them to compete with big grocery chains.

"It's not good. I mean it's gonna be hard on the smaller stores,” said Terry Dixon of Central Liquor Distributors. “The larger stores; they're going to have to adapt to refrigeration. A lot of stores, it's going to be hard for them to do."

"I think there's a little bit of a chicken little attitude that things are going to be bad. Things don't get good overnight. They don't get bad overnight," Jeff Reasor of Reasor's Foods in Tulsa said.


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