Let task force that's studying wine, hard beer sales do its work

BY J.P. RICHARD Published: October 1, 2011
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Supporters say WIGS would bring prices down and selection up. Currently the distribution system delivers spirit goods to 2,310 licensees at a 9 percent to 10 percent markup and wine goods at 15 percent. If WIGS passed, the number of licensees would increase threefold because not only grocers would be eligible but also convenience stores and drugstores.

The distribution system would be unable to service the market, so consumers would pick up the tab through increased markups. Currently Oklahoma offers 17,000 to 20,000 items. Texas, a WIGS state, offers only 12,000 to 14,000 and Oklahoma is a much smaller state.

It appears Oklahoma's system does have some distinct advantages. From a consumer's point of view, however, we do have a few hard edges. Those consumer complaints will be addressed in upcoming meetings and for the most part can be resolved with changes in state law.

Jolley and the committee should be given a chance to complete their work and give the governor a consensus report.

Richard is president of the Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma and owner of Cache Road Liquor and Wine in Lawton. Jolley's task force is scheduled to meet Oct. 20 at the state Capitol.

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