In response to changes necessitated by the coronavirus in Oklahoma, many brewers, restaurants, wineries and liquor stores have had to adapt to a new normal — social distancing — leaving many establishments closed and searching for new ways to reach consumers.
Alcohol demand has been high nationally. U.S. sales of alcoholic beverages rose 55% in the week ending March 21, according to market research firm Nielsen.
“The coronavirus pandemic has upended daily life and created a new reality, at least in the short term,” said Lisette Barnes, president of the Oklahoma Beer Alliance. “Many Oklahoma consumers are looking for ways to keep some normalcy to their lives, and businesses are looking for ways to maintain sales. The mission of the Oklahoma Beer Alliance is to enable Oklahomans to choose the highest quality products without compromise, as well as promote responsible consumption, so we applaud the quick efforts of leadership in our state to adapt to this quickly changing situation.”
The Oklahoma Beer Alliance has compiled the latest changes from Executive Orders by Gov. Kevin Stitt and guidance by the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement (ABLE) Commission for restaurant, brewer, winery and liquor store licensees, and to help consumers stay up to date on how they can still support local establishments and purchase their favorite alcoholic beverages.
- Liquor stores may deliver alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine and spirits, to consumers age 21 and over through April 17.
- Small brewers and small-farm wineries may deliver alcoholic beverages they produced in sealed original containers to consumers age 21 and over through April 17.
- Restaurants, bars and clubs with alcoholic beverage licenses may deliver original sealed packages of only beer, including growlers, and wine to consumers age 21 and over through April 17.
- On-premise beer, wine, mixed beverage and caterer/mixed beverage licensees that are primarily Type-2 restaurants, where persons under 21 are allowed to enter, may sell closed original packages of beer, which includes growlers, and wine in conjunction with curbside pick-up or drive through food sales.
- Grocery and convenience stores holding retail licenses may deliver closed containers of beer or wine to consumers age 21 and over through April 17.
- Licensed beer distributors, small brewers or brewpubs may accept the return of original unopened packages of beer products by licensees that will expire or fall outside the manufacturer’s recommended use date during the period of mandated COVID-19-related closure.
It is important to keep in mind that while these changes are in place, they are subject to be amended, revoked or extended as the coronavirus situation develops. A few other key points to note include third party vendors, such as DoorDash and UberEats, are not authorized to make alcohol deliveries, and online payments are restricted at this time. Also, while these options are open, alcohol licensees are still subject to gubernatorial and municipal closure orders. For more information about the orders, or to see the full guidance, visit https://www.ok.gov/able/.
“To keep pace with Gov. Stitt’s safer-at-home policy extended through April 30, the Oklahoma Beer Alliance urges state leadership to extend the April 17 ABLE Commission orders,” Barnes said. “We’ve been working closely with the ABLE Commission to ensure Oklahoma establishments are able to adapt to the current situation and mitigate any negative impacts that might be felt. We’re all in this together, and the more we can accommodate consumers and businesses during this time, the better.”