New laws change alcohol sales in Oklahoma

By  | 

OKLAHOMA (KXII) -- "People can come in after work, get their cold beer, get their chilled wine," said Lisa Caviglia, Manager of Big Daddy Liquors in Durant.

Oklahomans voted 'YES' on State Question 792 in 2016 and now the laws have officially changed.

"Well, the new laws don't allow us to sell the low point beer anymore, so we have to go to the high point beer. So we have to get a new, not a liquor license, but a beer license through the ABLE commission," said Jordan Sullivan, Manager of the Green Spray Market in Durant.

Before the new laws, The Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement, or ABLE Commission, was only regulating places like liquor stores that could sell high-point beer and liquor.

Now that grocery stores and gas stations can sell the high point beer and wine, the race is on to get a new license.

"I don't know actually when I'm getting the license," said Mohammed Alam, Manager of the Lucky Stop gas station in Durant.

A spokesperson for the ABLE Commission confirmed they have seen a spike in license requests, just like they expected and are working hard to get all 3000 processed.

They say they expect at least another thousand stores to apply.

While these stores wait for approval, shelves sit empty, costing some businesses money.

"I'm worried. Our business is very bad right now. We haven't had business almost this last month," said Alam.

Liquor stores may not have to wait for a new license but many do have the extra expense of adding new coolers and refrigerated shelves.

"We will be remodeling and putting in coolers and a beer cave," said Caviglia.

The ABLE commission says there will be growing pains but many store owners say they believe the change will be better for Oklahoma in the long run.

"I think it'll keep more revenue in the state, keep people from going to Texas," said Sullivan.

The ABLE Commission says the change this brings for their operations is the large increase in the amount of vendors and manufacturers they now regulate, meaning they will have to figure out how to regulate twice as many stores with the same number of agents.