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Oklahoma stores see beer shortage as Oct. 1 approaches

Beer is in short supply at most grocery stores and gas stations with businesses preparing for Oct. 1. (KOKH)

We're now one week away from seeing Oklahoma's new alcohol laws take effect.

But many are complaining of empty shelves and barricaded aisles at convenience and grocery stores.

“I think, you know, retailers erred on the side of caution there to make sure they sold out of all their 3.2 beer and were ready to stock their shelves with strong beer,” said Lisette Barnes, president of the Oklahoma Beer Alliance.

This has proven to be a smart move for retailers but a big disappointment for beer drinkers.

"I think the beer brewers cut it off a little too quick,” said Greg Propes, who works at a convenience store. “We've had some unhappy customers."

Most of those unhappy customers have found themselves forced to buy from liquor stores, which are seeing domestic beers fly off the shelves.

Chase Sanders, owner of Covell Wine and Liquor in Edmond, has spent the last year preparing his store for the upcoming changes.

"Preparing for coolers. We're going to be able to carry mixers, soda pops, sprite, Dr. Pepper, Tonic Water's a big one. Ice is another thing; cigars. So, there's things liquor stores can do to help them survive the changes. You just have to be willing to make those changes,” Sanders said.

Sanders won't have his coolers installed until Oct. 7.

But Barnes says everyone is trying to play catchup, including the Oklahoma ABLE Commission. Staff there has been working overtime to ensure all restaurants and retailers are properly licensed.

"On top of all the additional retail licenses that they've never had before, all employees now at both on-premise like bars and restaurants, and, also convenience stores and grocery stores have to be licensed,” Barnes said.

The good news is Oct. 1 is right around the corner, and shelves will be fully stocked and high-point beer will be fully flowing.

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