Winemaker Boycotts Claremore Events Until Alcohol Occupation Tax Changes

Monday, May 23rd 2016, 10:52 pm
By: News On 6

Some Green Country wineries are worried about a Claremore city law that charges them more in taxes. One winemaker even said he will boycott Claremore events until the ordinance is changed.

Clyde Mickle takes pride in the wine he makes at Diamondhead Winery in Pryor.

He knows business is good there, which is why he doesn't mind shelling out thousands of dollars in permits and taxes to sell his wine at events and festivals in towns like Claremore.

But when the City of Claremore told him it was going to enforce an Alcohol Occupation Tax, he put his foot down.

"It's just not right for us to have to pay for that permit, we should be exempt," he said.

The tax has been around for many years, but Mickle said this is the first time he's heard of it.

It requires wineries to pay an extra $75 a year if they want to sell their wines in Claremore.

Mickle said he shouldn't have to pay since he's not a Claremore business.

He knows the cost doesn't sound like much, but he's worried dozens of other cities will start to do the same thing.

Mickle said, "I set up at probably 35 to 40 different cities, towns, communities. And you add that up, I mean we're not talking about $75 anymore, we're talking about $7,000."

Claremore's city ordinance states Oklahoma winemakers must pay the $75 a year while businesses like liquor stores must pay $500.

The city council can change the law, but, until then, the city said it will enforce it.

Until the ordinance is changed, Mickle said he'll avoid Claremore events and hopes other wineries will, too.