The Thirsty Beagle: It's 2016, and everyone loves craft beer

Monday, February 29, 2016

It's 2016, and everyone loves craft beer

I have it on good authority that Oklahomans for Consumer Freedom (Tap Oklahoma/Walmart, etc.) will file its own alcohol reform initiative petition this week, and maybe even as early as today.

(UPDATE: Within minutes of posting this blog, Tap Oklahoma reached out to say that "A final decision has not yet been made about an initiative petition." I will update further if needed.)

That -- if you're counting -- would put us up to three initiative petitions and one legislative referendum on alcohol reform so far. And not even one month into the legislative session, no less!

The move from OFCF really would come as no big surprise. I blogged way back at the start of the month that the Walmart-backed group would likely file an initiative petition. The petition filed with the Secretary of State last week by the Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma probably helped grease the skids for OFCF's action.

Now, the RLAO petition is drawing a lot of attention, mostly because it would provide a lot of wins for craft beer.

Of course, it would also provide a lot of wins for existing liquor stores. Like blocking a wide majority of the state's grocery stores from selling wine. (Cue the Walmart outrage.) And stopping anyone from selling wine, or even opening their own liquor store, within about half a mile of an existing liquor store, thanks to a 2,500-foot buffer provision.

Look, I understand the plight of the liquor store in this deal. I'm on the record saying liquor store owners likely have the most to lose here. But the petition from the RLAO is just too much of an ask.

I might get run out of my favorite liquor stores for saying this, but to me, the RLAO petition is actually anti-consumer convenience and anti-business. I just don't think it's realistic to write a petition that only allows a small number of grocery stores to sell wine and essentially tells people where they can and can't open their business of choice.

But I digress, because a lot of people are seeing a lot of good stuff for craft beer in that petition.

And that is no coincidence.

Let's get wise to something here, people. Why do you think the RLAO petition holds so much promise for craft beer? It's the same reason Walmart and Anheuser-Busch are buddying up to craft beer in a big way.

But don't take it from me. Listen to what they're saying:

"The Oklahoma craft industry has already had a huge economic impact on our state. Imagine how much more it could do with updated laws." -- Tap Oklahoma/Walmart

"The government shouldn't dictate what beers should be available to you. If done the right way, modernization will bring more brands, including craft beer into Oklahoma." -- Cold Beer Now OK/Anheuser-Busch.

And I didn't have to go digging for those quotes. Those were the most recent posts on each group's Facebook page when I looked last night. Is there any coincidence they've peppered their messaging with craft beer language?

They're doing this to try and lure voters -- especially millennial votes -- and other supporters to their cause. But let's please remember what everyone's cause is. Walmart wants to sell massive amounts of $8 wine. Anheuser-Busch wants to avoid having to deal with a middle man and to keep their two-tier distribution system intact. The RLAO wants to make it pretty much where nobody else can sell wine and spirits.

I think it's important that we all know these things when it comes time to decide what you want to support. They're all going to dangle the craft beer carrot -- but they're all really looking out for themselves in the long run.

You can't blame them, but you should be wary about the non-craft-beer stuff everyone is asking for as well.

Pints and Pins

-I had an absolutely great time pouring some of my homebrew at the annual Mashed In Homebrewers Showcase yesterday afternoon. Big hat-tip to Gail White of The Brew Shop, Greg Powell of TapWerks and the COOP Ale Works team for organizing the event. This really is a gem of an event that showcases the skill and creativity of a lot of really good homebrewers -- and possibly future pro brewers. Definitely make a mental note to grab your tickets when the event comes around next year.

-Your Monday night McNellie's group pint nights are Duvel at McNellie's OKC; Black Mesa Kolsch at Tulsa; COOP Bourbon Barrel Gran Sport Porter at Tulsa-South; and Elk Valley Nemesis at Norman.

-Rahr & Sons is rolling out in Oklahoma starting today with a celebration at Fassler Hall-OKC. The event is set for 7 to 9:30 p.m., with a special menu featuring a selection of Rahr & Sons beers paired with Fassler dishes. Following tonight's shindig, a series of events are planned for Tuesday through Thursday:

Tuesday, March 1:
-5:30 p.m. at Ranch Acres in Tulsa
-7 p.m. at The Patriarch
-7 p.m. at The Pint in Tulsa

Wednesday, March 2:
-5:30 p.m. at Skinny Slims-OKC
-5:30 p.m. at Skinny Slims-Edmond
-6 p.m. at Oak & Ore
-6 p.m. at Fassler Hall-Tulsa

Thursday, March 3:
-5:30 p.m. at R Bar in Tulsa
-7 p.m. at TapWerks

1 comment:

  1. The manager at this event venue suggested we make custom choices and make the menu a little more personalized. The next time you need to hold a conference, have a wedding, or set up a whiskey tasting, think about doing it at this venue.