There certainly was a great deal of fanfare when House Bill 1341 was signed into law in April.
The law, known as the beer sampling bill, made it legal for Oklahoma brewers to serve on-premise samples of their beer. While the samples are to be modest — they cannot exceed 12 oz., per person, per day — the symbolism of the new law was significant as Oklahoma showed it could perhaps start to break free of some of the Prohibition-era shackles that still pervade the state’s alcohol laws.
HB 1341 officially goes into effect Friday, but the fanfare is now noticeably dialed down. Only one of the state’s brewers has confirmed they will indeed be open to the public for tastings on Friday.
Here’s the rundown:
(Plans are subject to change; please call your local brewers to confirm before making any trip)
-Marshall Brewing Co.: Will be open Friday from 2 to 5 p.m. for tours and sampling. The cost will be $5 and will include a commemorative tasting glass. $2 of the cost will be donated to a local charity. Samples will consist of four 3-oz. pours. Guests must have valid ID.
-Roughtail Brewing Co.: First tour will be 2:30 p.m. Nov. 9. The cost is $5 and includes a commemorative tasting glass. Will follow roughly the same format at Marshall.
-Mustang Brewing Co.: Will be open for sampling Friday if construction is complete on its new tasting room. If not, it will be the following week.
-Choc Beer Co.: Planning to be open for sampling/tours on Nov. 9.
-Prairie Artisan Ales: Trying to be open for tastings on Dec. 1
-Battered Boar Brewing Co.: Plans to offers tastings, but has not finalized dates.
-COOP Ale Works: Will not offer tastings until they open their new brewery location.
-Anthem Brewing Co.: Still waiting on ABLE licensing, so cannot open for tours/samples.
-Huebert Brewing Co.: Did not respond to requests for information.
I understand completely why not everyone is getting rolling on Friday. Oklahoma’s craft beer movement is essentially still in its young stages. The brewers are trying to build/grow/establish/expand their businesses. All of our state’s brewers employ small staffs. Getting ready for the holiday season adds strain. And a lot of the local brewers have other extenuating circumstances right now (Like Mustang’s brewhouse being wrecked by a storm). So, many simply cannot just stop work and drop everything to allow Joe Public to wander in for a drink.
At the same time, it would have been nice to have more of the breweries ready to go on Friday, for symbolic reasons. After all, it’s not every day we pass forward-thinking alcohol legislation in Oklahoma. I know a lot of beer fans are looking forward to the chance to sit down at a brewery and sample the beer.
Now, this is not me trying to hate on the brewers — I know we wouldn’t even have this discussion without those guys pushing behind the scenes to bring about change and progress on the beer landscape.
It’s just a minor gripe, really. And in the end, it’s probably better to be griping about when breweries will open up for tastings than it is to have no tastings at all.
Anywho, I’ll keep you updated as more breweries firm up their plans and add more specific details to their tasting/tour routines.