Bishop says that if Whole Foods Market, Sam’s Club, Walmart, etc. are allowed to sell all alcohol, that “all of that revenue that currently stays in Oklahoma would leave the state” from local liquor merchants. Well, I have traveled extensively in the U.S., and I can safely say that in any other state I have been to, even though Whole Foods, Sam’s and all the rest may sell alcoholic beverages in those states, there are still mom-and-pop liquor stores everywhere in big cities and in small- and medium-sized towns. It has no effect whatsoever. He simply wants business in his sector only to be able to sell — protectionism, plain and simple.
In regards to other laws that would need to be changed:
You can only own one liquor store:
Why is this? What is so wrong about owning more than one liquor store?
You can only sell liquor in your store. How silly is this? God forbid that you be allowed to sell bloody mary mix or bubble gum in your liquor store!
You can’t refrigerate beer and wine in a liquor store. Again, God forbid someone might take a legally purchased product out of a store and consume it on the spot! Some people like hot beer — ask the Germans. Some brewers require their product to be kept under refrigeration, and as a result of our silly laws they do not allow their product to be sold in Oklahoma. How does this expand the customer’s options in Oklahoma? This regulation is worthless.
You can only buy liquor from an “approved wholesaler.” Again, this is protectionism from the one or two “approved” wholesalers in Oklahoma in order to protect their “monopolies.” Liquor merchants should be able to buy from anyone — Oklahoma wineries, out-of-state legal wineries and legal wholesalers — no matter where they are. Free commerce is always the best option.
These are just a few reasons why I applaud the new Republican-controlled Oklahoma Legislature in their efforts to bring liquor laws into the 21st century. I am a Democrat and did not vote for most of those legislators, but when they propose something that is good for all Oklahomans, I will support it and them wholeheartedly. It is the right thing to do in this case.