TULSA - A bill authored by state Rep. Glen Mulready, R-Tulsa, aims to allow craft breweries in Oklahoma to serve samples to customers taking tours of their operations.
It's a battle Eric Marshall, founder of Marshall Brewing Company , has been involved in recently. Marshall said that while he understands that there are some who have a moral or personal opposition to the bill, he hopes members of the legislature see that the bill is both pro-business and pro-tourism.
"I could probably count on two hands the number of times in a week somebody stops by from out of state. They're passing through, they want to check out the local brewery or they're calling to check to see, 'Hey, do you guys do tours and sampling? I love doing that whenever I travel out of state,'" Marshall said.
If the bill becomes law, a brewery would be able to provide 12-ounce samples to each customer who takes a tour.
"We're asking for 12 ounces per person per day, which is a small amount, but we wanted to be able to obviously be responsible about what we're trying to offer out of here," he said.
Marshall said he and Mulready worked closely with the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission to create the 12-ounce limit and language used in the bill. Marshall said the ABLE Commission has thrown their support behind the measure under the terms. Other breweries are on board as well, according to Marshall.
In addition to touting the legislation as a pro-business initiative that provides advertising, marketing and tasting avenues to grow his business, Marshall said it's also an opportunity to educate the public about the growing craft beer market and how various beers are made.
"We want people to come in and see what what we've built. We want people to come in and understand the process of brewing. We're a craft brewer and all the other guys in the state are craft brewers and that says something that we're passionate about we do. We feel that it's an art what we do," Marshall said.
The bill, which successfully made it out of the house on a 62 to 30 vote last week , is now headed to the Senate, where it could be a couple of weeks before it's debated on the Senate floor.
2NEWS placed multiple calls to opponents of the measure. Those calls were not returned.
Currently in Oklahoma, only wineries are allowed to offer samples to customers.