14 Oklahoma counties could lose right to sell beer
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Up to 14 counties in Oklahoma might lose their right to sell beer after a new law taking effect in October replaces low-alcohol beer with stronger beer.
Counties will be required to have liquor-by-the-drink sales approved in order to sell beer in restaurants and bars once 3.2-percent beer is unavailable beginning Oct. 1, The Journal Record reported.
The new law was approved in 2016 with an intentional two-year lag to allow the state’s dry counties to react.
Major and Ellis counties approved liquor-by-the-drink this year, leaving 14 holdout counties.
The Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission has tried to inform the counties about the pending changes, said Director Keith Burt.
“There are people in dry counties that are used to having a beer with their pizza, and when 3.2 beer goes away, that won’t be possible,” Burt said.
Burt said the commission is encouraging the remaining counties to take advantage of the June 26 primary election that will include gubernatorial candidates.
Harper County Clerk Karen Hickman and Alfalfa County Clerk Lanette Unruh said their counties are expected to vote on liquor-by-the-drink on June 26. Unruh said she thinks about two-thirds of the county will vote to approve the measure.
Hickman said there are only a couple of places in Harper County that sell alcohol. She said she’s concerned that the county won’t approve the measure.
“It will take some educating of the public,” she said.
Hughes County Clerk Carolyn A. Preble said county commissioners have discussed how to get the measure on a ballot, but that nothing has been made official. Caddo County Clerk Patrice Dolch said commissioners are also discussing liquor laws.
Information from: The Journal Record, http://www.journalrecord.com