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Chicken-Fried News: Accompanied minors

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INGVARD ASHBY
  • Ingvard Ashby

Parents in search of a good bottle of wine or a high-end selection of spirits will no longer have to leave their kids tied up outside the liquor store. You can forget about needing to leave a note on the window of your car that says, “Don’t worry; the A/C is on and he’s listening to his favorite music,” because Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law last week that allows accompanied minors to enter liquor stores beginning Nov. 1.

The vocal minority against the law argued that allowing children in the liquor store would potentially expose minors to the dangers of alcohol. Nothing like watching Mommy pick up a bottle of cabernet for her to forget about why Daddy left to really make kids think drinking is cool.

State Sen. Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City, who co-authored last year’s liquor modernization laws, cited studies that showed exposing kids to alcohol actually promoted healthy attitudes toward drinking and said liquor stores were operating at a competitive disadvantage because kids could be with parents in the wine aisle at the grocery store.

The new law seems to be a nod to help small business owners of standalone liquor stores, who have seen sales drop nearly 40 percent since grocery and convenience stores started selling wine last year as part of the liquor modernization law that also included high-point beer. Not only did liquor stores have increased competition, they were required to install refrigeration to remain in business and were capped on the amount of non-alcohol sales they could produce each year.

So while allowing busy parents to enter the store with their kids likely will not put much of a dent in their lost sales, it is likely too little, too late for a lot of liquor store owners. Still, we take out the world’s smallest violin for the liquor stores that used to get business just because they were the only game in town.

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