Oklahoma Stores Prepare For Liquor Law Changes
TULSA, Oklahoma - Oklahoma's liquor laws will change next October, but that means many stores that sell alcohol have to start making changes now in order to be ready.
Tulsa's largest convenience store chain is testing out walk-in beer coolers and liquor stores are adding space to handle what's expected be new demand for alcohol.
At Parkhill's Liquor and Wines, the change in the law encouraged a major expansion to have more room for wines and beer they have now, and to make room for the coolers they'll need sell new products next year.
"We just have to wait on the law, and we're pretty much ready to go," said Milton Leiter of Parkhill's.
Parkhill's built a temporarily separated store divided by a garage door to meet the current law.
Next October the door goes up and in one store they can also sell chilled wine and cold, strong beer.
"We had a plan in place because we knew the law would change at some point, but we wanted to make it a better shopping experience and a contiguous store," Leiter said.
It's the same expectation of new opportunity that has QuikTrip trying out glassed-in, walk-in beer coolers.
They've built one in Tulsa, and another in Collinsville to see how customers respond.
"When you can see a whole bunch of varieties, people who might not shop at QuikTrip today might see it, and like it and say, 'that's what I'm going to do.' So we'll see," said Mike Thornbrugh of QuikTrip.
The change in the law will impact every business now selling beer and wine.
The existing three and two point beer won't be available after that and products now only in liquor stores will be more readily available.
QuikTrip expects to gain some customers but they'll also be competing with sales at grocery stores.
"Ultimately the consumer will say you're a winner or loser, not QuikTrip or anybody else," Thornbrugh said.
The state is still drafting the rules and will hold public hearings in Tulsa in January to help businesses understand them.