Oklahoma is definitely our favorite cleaver-shaped state. From what we remember on a trip to Perry about a decade ago, it’s wholesome prairie country with a rich history of cowboys, Indians, bison and (soon) craft beer. What four things have better defined American history?
When it comes to the rebirth of beer in the Sooner State, the Craft Beer Association of Oklahoma is stepping up to unite the state’s breweries, hosting the first Oklahoma Beer Summit last week at Oklahoma City’s Oak & Ore (a boutique beer hall offering 36 taps of craft brews). Tulsa World covered the event, which had a bit of political focus. Zach Prichard, president of the Craft Beer Association of Oklahoma, wants to change how the state deals with its alcohol laws. We quote the article:
“We have been able to create this broad group of Oklahoma brewers that are interested in change. Sen. Bice and Sen. Crain’s bills will allow for a very large expansive modernization of the alcohol industry in Oklahoma. That was very encouraging to us,” Prichard said. “We have put a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of sweat and money into these breweries, so anything we can do to guarantee our beers to market and guarantee our access to beer drinkers is super important. That will allow the confidence of people to invest in the breweries and to create jobs and continue to grow the amazing beer culture that we have.”
The bills in discussion are SB 424 and SB 383. SB 424 aims to allow breweries to sell at point of production and allow breweries the same rights as Oklahoma wineries. SB 424 will also allow for additional revenue sources for small businesses that brew beer via additional sales and tours on premise, while allowing tastings and sales to the general public at the breweries themselves. SB 383 would allow liquor stores to sell refrigerated “strong” or “high point” beer.
“We would like to see a robust change to our liquor stores that allow for them to have more options to give,” said Kevin Hall, executive director of LOCAL, League of Oklahomans for Change in Alcohol Laws. “We are also vastly opposed to AB InBev owning a distribution company in the state. We feel like that will limit consumer choice.”
A collaboration beer was also announced to help further the causes — a low-point pale ale to be named Collaboration for Legislation. The beer’s sale will help fund the Craft Brewers Association of Oklahoma.