The Thirsty Beagle: Top 10 Oklahoma craft beer stories of 2016: No. 1

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Top 10 Oklahoma craft beer stories of 2016: No. 1

Hope you've enjoyed the countdown of top 10 Oklahoma craft beer stories of 2016. Today, we've made it to the top of the heap, and really, there was little doubt in my mind what the top story was.

First, let's review how we got here. You can also scroll back through the blog to read the blurbs on each story.

No. 10: Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival expands to two days
No. 9: Homebrewers announce plans to go pro
No. 8: COOP Ale Works wins Metro 50 Award
No. 7: Renaissance, Vanessa House and Nothing's Left launch
No. 6: Mustang changes ownership; Mustang and Elk Valley seek new homes
No. 5: Stone, New Belgium announce Oklahoma distribution
No. 4: American Solera, Twisted Spike, Mountain Fork, Beavers Bend open doors
No. 3: Voters pass State Question 792
No. 2: Krebs Brewing Co. acquires Prairie, announces series of expansion plans

And now, it's time for...

No. 1

The news: Senate Bill 424 is passed, goes into effect

What happened: The legislature passed and the governor signed Senate Bill 424, which gives Oklahoma brewers the right to conduct on-premise sales of their full-strength beer directly to consumers. There was a small hiccup just before the bill was to go into effect in August as the ABLE Commission debated whether or not the bill allowed on-premise consumption. The state Attorney General's Office stepped in and ruled that on-premise consumption was indeed allowed, and SB 424 went into effect on Aug. 26, 2016, with numerous local brewers holding special events.

Why it mattered: It's easy to go over the top in explaining the importance of SB 424 for craft beer in Oklahoma. Maybe the simplest way to describe it is transformational. It has allowed local brewers to take advantage of the most lucrative way to sell beer -- by the glass -- and has opened the door for a lot of the developments already listed in this top 10. Krebs president Zach Prichard said the Prairie OKC brewery and taproom would not happen without SB 424. Ross Harper would not try and turn the Angry Scotsman into a commercial brewery without SB 424. Those are just two examples, but it's safe to say the legislation has had an immediate impact and will have a continuing impact over the next few years. In fact, it's not a stretch to describe SB 424 as the leading factor in future development of Oklahoma as a beer tourism destination. And I could go on. The passage and enactment of SB 424 was not only the biggest craft beer story for Oklahoma in 2016, you can make an argument it is one of the biggest stories for craft beer in the history of the state -- that's how important it was.

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