- Associated Press - Monday, December 8, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A group of Oklahoma beer lovers wants to change the state’s laws for craft breweries so they align with those for wineries.

The League of Oklahomans for Change in Alcohol Laws is a grassroots effort that’s aiming to become a nonprofit organization.

The group wants breweries to be able to sell their whole beer portfolios from the tap in order to promote beer tourism, The Journal Record (https://bit.ly/1qkm8W6 ) reported. LOCAL also wants liquor stores to be able to sell alcohol mixers, cheeses and other food pairings. But the move would require an infrastructure change to allow refrigeration, the group’s third and final goal.

“Craft beer is expanding its market share and growing in popularity,” said Heather Sams of LOCAL. “There’s so much potential. We have these amazing breweries that are strangled by the regulations that are not imposed on other businesses such as wineries.”

LOCAL leader Kevin Hall believes the legislative changes would help the state’s economy, as well as local breweries, he said.

Members of LOCAL have already begun meeting with lawmakers. They expect it could take about three years to raise awareness and funds for their efforts.

“It’s important for people to recognize that this is not something that’s just of interest to men in their 20s and 30s,” Sams said. “This spans men, women, young and old. It’s a great time for craft breweries. This is something we could really capitalize on.”

LOCAL plans to hire a lobbyist to present the issues to legislators within the Capitol.

“I think the tides are turning in some regard,” Sams said. “It’s a battle that’s worth fighting. The groups have formed several times before and they’ve fallen apart. But this is something that (Hall) believes strongly in and he’s driven. He’s a great person to head up this movement.”

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Information from: The Journal Record, https://www.journalrecord.com


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