LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - One local liquor store owner said prices of wine and spirits are skyrocketing and will continue to do so because of the passage of State Question 792 in November 2016.
Those price increases are happening at the wholesale level, with the companies who sell the alcohol to liquor stores across the state. JP Richard with Cache Road Liquor said since SQ792 passed, two liquor wholesalers have closed and the price of liquor has gone up almost four percent, with the price of wine going up about 5 percent.
Richard said he doesn't think this is the end of increasing liquor prices in Oklahoma.
"There will be some things that will kind of go up and down, wine prices are not going to change that much, they may creep up a little bit, it's mainly spirit prices that are going to go up," Richard said. "They're probably going to go up from the present level, I'm going to guess anywhere from another 8 to 15 percent."
Richard said two wholesalers closed because of State Question 792, and now, the remaining 5 wholesalers have the ability to essentially set their own prices. In Oklahoma, every 60 days each wholesaler delivers the prices of their products to the ABLE commission, who will, in turn, tell the other wholesalers what their competitors' prices are.
"Then you have 5 days to meet the low or meet the high or anywhere in between and of course, everybody always meets the low because whoever gets the lowest markup gets all of the business," Richard said.
Richard said the two wholesalers closing their doors has had a huge impact on the states alcohol industry.
"There are two fewer wholesalers now to post low and so that price has just been creeping up for the past four months," Richard said.
Richard and the Oklahoma Retail Liquor Association continue to fight State Question 792 in court and Richard said they should have a resolution of that battle by June. But if 792 is allowed to go through, Richard said there will be a few things it means for those of us here in Southwest Oklahoma.
"Selection will go down. Prices will go up," Richard said.
7NEWS reached out either by phone or email to every wholesaler in the state on Thursday but did not hear back from any of them.
There are currently three bills in the Oklahoma legislature that would change the sale of alcohol in Oklahoma.
One would increase the number of liquor stores that a married couple can own from two, where it is currently, up to four.
SQ792 allows liquor stores to stay open until midnight, instead of the current 9 p.m., but a new bill would allow them to open at 8 a.m. instead of the current 10 a.m.
The third bill would allow county voters to choose whether liquor stores can open on Sundays.