Oklahoma AG approves sale of strong beer for sale, consumption at breweries

Posted at 5:10 PM, Aug 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-24 07:20:16-04

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma's Attorney General issued an opinion Tuesday allowing for the sale of strong beer for consumption at local breweries.

Pruitt issued the opinion Thursday after the state's Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission asked him to review a new state law that allows the sale of full-strength beer.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt announced that he had reviewed the bill and gave an official opinion to the ABLE commission Tuesday.

“As promised, my office has completed its legal review and analysis of SB 424 and has issued an official opinion in response to the ABLE Commission’s request. Interpreting the law is never about picking winners or losers. This opinion upholds the original intent of the legislature, which was to permit craft brewers to sell high-point beer for consumption both on and off their premises. I am confident this opinion provides certainty to regulators, businesses, and the people of Oklahoma,” said Pruitt.

While the decision was being made, several breweries were left in limbo, wondering if things would soon change.
Marshall Brewery had already stopped brewing 3.2 beer in anticipation of the law change.

"More than anything it's going to help this industry thrive in this state, so it's already growing in spite of some of the restrictions we've had in the past but it opens the door for smaller breweries to pop up,” said Eric Marshall.

Even as brewers were already raising their pints in celebration, the delay made some brewery owners nervous— until Tuesday.

“Last Thursday (we) kind a got the rug yanked out from under us when we found out through another meeting ABLE was leaning towards not letting that happen,” said brewer Tony Peck.

But it did clear, bringing good news for brewers who’ve been long pushing for the change.

Peck, who operates the Dead Armadillo Brewing Company, had been in business under a loophole in the law which allowed him to set up a brewery in the back— and sell that beer to a separate company with a license to sell it from the tap. Now, that will change on Friday.

“We can surrender this room's license the brewery can re-incorporate this tap room into the brewery plan and as far as able is concerned we can sell our high point beer as a brewery,” Peck said.

Supporters say this law will allow others to tap into one of the area’s growing industries.

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