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Alcohol Proponents Launch Campaign To Allow Wine, Full-Strength Cold Beer

Yes on 792 chairman Jeff Reasor speaks at a press conference on July 27, 2016. Reasor is the chairman and CEO of Tahlequah-based grocery store chain Reasor’s.
Jacob McCleland
/
KGOU
Yes on 792 chairman Jeff Reasor speaks at a press conference Tuesday. Reasor is the chairman and CEO of Tahlequah-based grocery store chain Reasor’s.";

Supporters of a state question that would change Oklahoma’s alcohol laws launched their campaign today Wednesday. The group Yes On 792 is advocating on behalf of a ballot question that would allow convenience stores to sell full strength beer and wine. Liquor stores would be able to sell cold beer.

Greater Oklahoma City Chamber president Roy Williams says alcohol reform would help the state attract and retain young talent.

“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 in our state’s history,” Williams said. “So we believe this puts us in a much more competitive environment, and it’s why we support Yes on 792.”

State Sen. Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City, says there’s momentum to change the current laws due to the growth of Oklahoma’s wine and craft beer industries.

“Millennials love those industries and have really embraced them in Oklahoma,” Bice said. “So I think you’ve seen maybe a shift or turn of the tides from the very conservative aspect to a little bit more of a modern day perspective on alcohol.”

Other supporters include the Oklahoma Grape Growers Association and the Oklahoma Retail Merchants Association.

The Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma filed a suit to block the measure because they say it treats liquor license holders differently than supermarket and convenience stores.

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Jacob McCleland spent nine years as a reporter and host at public radio station KRCU in Cape Girardeau, Mo. His stories have appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Here & Now, Harvest Public Media and PRI’s The World. Jacob has reported on floods, disappearing languages, crop duster pilots, anvil shooters, Manuel Noriega, mule jumps and more.
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