Alert! National Beer Day is Sunday. If your favorite brew’s first name isn’t Natty, Bud or Adolph, you’d better get to the liquor store. That’s because in Oklahoma, grocery stores are only allowed to sell 3.2 beer and no wine. Of course, we’re not the only state with such laws. Pennsylvania and Utah have restrictive laws on sales in grocery stores. Wyoming, which has a population a little more than half the size of the Tulsa metro, also has markets bereft of beer or wine. But let’s focus on progress rather than complaints. Oklahoma was born a dry state. In the 1930s, voters embraced "non-intoxicating” beer, or beer that is less than 3.2-percent alcohol. We changed the name in 1995 to low-point beer when it was determined that "nonintoxicating beer” was indeed intoxicating people enough to be responsible for 70 percent of state traffic deaths. (Did it really take that long to figure it out?)
Quantity, not qualitySome have said the content is negligible. That to get the intoxicating effect of a six-pack, you really just need a "seven-pack.” If that’s the case, why don’t we just drop the whole stupid law and open up the competition? Isn’t that the American way? Turns out a free market is only as free as your political power, and the alcohol distributors’ lobby has clean-and-jerked control of who sells what in the spirits world. Lobbyists are in business, too, so you can’t fault them. Distributors are doing what they can to protect their business, which is as American as apple pie. So, what’s the solution? How do we convince law makers that in a world dominated by an information superhighway, a person ought to be able to get a Guinness after a long morning of church. Can’t we just get together as ladies and gentlemen to work this out? Maybe over a seven-pack?
More beer discussion on the Thirsty Beagle Blog: