The Thirsty Beagle: Prohibition ends in Oklahoma, again

Friday, August 26, 2016

Prohibition ends in Oklahoma, again

Mark this day down on your calendars, beer fans.

Aug. 26, 2016: The day Prohibition ended in Oklahoma, again.

It's hard to imagine we've finally made it to this point, where our craft brewers can sell all their beers to their consumers right out of the brewery. And it's even more difficult to overstate what a big deal this is.

Remember what today looks like -- well, what yesterday looked like, really -- because Oklahoma's craft beer scene won't look like this for long. I've said for some time now, with Senate Bill 424 in effect, we're set to embark on a period of rapid growth and development.

As of the most recent ABLE Commission report, Oklahoma has 11 brick-and-mortar breweries licensed to produce and sell full-strength beer. Within a few months, that number will likely jump to 15, thanks to known breweries-in-planning.

Within a year? We could be above 20. Within 10 years? Who says it wouldn't be 40 or 50?

We should see the return of the neighborhood brewery. That's a concept that was immensely popular prior to Prohibition, but was all but killed off all across the country.

The neighborhood brewery has crept back into existence and proliferated in states with welcoming beer laws. Now SB 424 puts Oklahoma on the runway, with takeoff imminent.

I guess in Oklahoma we liked the end of Prohibition so much, we decided to do it twice.

And while it's important to tip our cap to some of the legislators who helped us get here -- Sen. Stephanie Bice and Sen. Brian Crain most notably -- I think the people who are really responsible are the people who now will benefit the most from SB 424.

I tip my hat especially to the Hueberts, Chocs, Marshalls, Roughtails, COOPs, Anthems and Mustangs of the world.

These guys started breweries when the idea of starting a full-strength production brewery in Oklahoma was actually a pretty bad business decision. They've been charging ahead, fighting strongly in a restrictive model, where they sent their products out into the big world to make pennies on the dollar.

It would have been a lot easier to make a better living in any number of other ventures, no doubt.

So why did they do it? Pretty simple, really: For the love of beer.

It's clear to me that the main reason we arrived at Aug. 26, 2016, is because the brewers loved beer and took the chance to blaze a trail where none existed prior.

And now those pioneers of the Oklahoma craft beer scene are being rewarded for that love, for their perseverance and for their dedication to the craft.

When the clock hits 4:24 p.m. today, raise your glass. Let's toast a good beer made by good, hard-working Oklahomans.

Cheers, Oklahoma.

1 comment:

  1. Well said! This is a huge step in the right direction.