New bill would allow liquor store drive-thrus

Oklahoma liquor store drive-thru bill

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - You might be able to purchase alcohol at Oklahoma liquor store drive-thrus soon.

House Bill 2868 allows retail spirit licensees to sell alcoholic beverages in their original, sealed containers via drive-thru.

Cache Road Liquor store owner Mike O’Malley said in the era of COVID, it would be great to provide customers with more options.

“We’ve done a lot more delivery and a lot more curbside, obviously, because it was legal and some people still they just don’t want to even with masks and now vaccines,” he said, “they just don’t feel comfortable coming into a place, so anything we can do to make our customers feel comfortable is something that we support.”

Representative Trish Ranson of Stillwater co-authored the bill. She said as alcohol laws are being modernized, it’s important to make sure small businesses can keep up with big box stores like Walmart that sell wine now.

O’Malley agrees. He said, on average, about 60-70% of wine sales moved to those stores due to convenience.

“Walmart doesn’t have nearly the selection that we do or some of the other stores in town do,” he said, “but it’s convenient, so adding the convenience of a drive-thru in liquor stores brings back some of that businesses and that’s huge. There’s only so much business in town and every little bit you can get back is awesome.”

Fluffy’s Liquor store manager Katie Mustonen said why not?

“That’s fantastic that they’ll be able to do a drive-thru,” she said. “It only makes sense. If we can serve somebody at their car, then they should be able to drive-thru in their car.”

Some people who oppose the bill say liquor store employees may not be able to tell if a customer’s already had too much to drink when they come through a drive-thru.

O’Malley said that’s always a concern, but he thinks it would be easier to tell with a driver than with a walk-in.

The bill is now ready to be heard on the House floor.

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