Walmart mobilizing effort to sell hard liquor in grocery stores!

First they came for the wine and good beer. Now they want the strong stuff, too!

According to an article in The Journal Record, Walmart and Friends are mobilizing a big-money push to allow hard liquor sales in Oklahoma grocery stores, gas stations, drug stores, etc.

Check this out:

Walmart and an Oklahoma City political consultant are kicking off a campaign to legalize the sale of whiskey, gin, vodka, tequila and other spirits in grocery stores across the state, according to an association that represents Oklahoma liquor stores.

Robert Jernigan, president of the Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma, said the national retailer has hired Pat McFerron, founding partner of CMA Strategies, to initiate a legislative lobbying campaign. The process will apparently begin in September with an organizational meeting involving alcohol wholesalers, distributors, industry lobbyists and associated services. Retail liquor store owners were not invited.

Geeze, I wonder why the retail liquor store owners weren’t invited? Allowing the Walmarts, 7-Elevens and Walgreens of the world to sell spirits will put most liquor stores out of business, so you’d think they’d want to have a say in how they’re put to death.

Here’s more:

Walmart spent nearly $5 million in its push to overhaul state alcohol laws in 2016, when State Question 792 was passed, allowing wine and full-strength beer to be sold in Oklahoma grocery stores for the first time.

The retailer wanted spirits to be included in that state question, Jernigan said. But spirits did not poll well at the time, so strategists dropped them to make SQ 792 passage more likely.

Hey, I was all for SQ 792. I thought it was dumb that consumers couldn’t buy good beer and wine at grocery and convenience stores. It was a good law then and – based on the several times I’ve bought prosecco at the grocery store on a Sunday morning – still think it’s a good law now, but…

Does this take things too far?

I know other states allow grocery stores and other retailers to hawk the strong stuff. I’m also aware that it would be convenient for consumers to be able to grab the vodka for the vodka sauce at the same place they get all the other ingredients, but…

A) Do we really want to sell Jack Daniels in the same places that hawk guns and ammo?

B) Do we really want to put most of the state’s liquor stores out of business?

Once again, I was all for SQ 792, so this may be a bit hypocritical, but I like having liquor stores around. Most of them are mom-and-pop small businesses, and putting them to death so huge multinational corporations can squeeze a little more profit for their out-of-state shareholders seems wrong.

Sure, opening up the hard liquor trade to evil corporations that drain government resources and seem to do more harm to the public than good may save downtrodden alcoholics a few bucks each month, but is that really worth decimating a line of retailers that have been part of Oklahoma culture since the 1950s?

Also, when we passed SQ 792, there was a little bit in it for liquor stores, too. It gave them the opportunity to sell refrigerated beer and other common-sense products like corkscrews and margarita mix. I know that didn’t offset the losses they took when Emily started buying her Relax at Whole Foods, but at least it was something.

What type of concessions will they give to retail liquor stores now? Allow them to sell spray paint to huffers or laundry detergent to meth makers? Outside of that, it’s hard to think of any.

I guess we’ll continue to monitor this story and see where things go with it. If you have any thoughts, leave a comment.

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26 Responses

  1. I’m old enough to remember when Oklahoma was dry. DRY! Really! Grocery stores could sell 3.2 beer back then, but there was no legal way to buy anything stronger. Of course your neighborhood bootlegger was only a phone call away and would deliver anything you wanted. Booze in Oklahoma was like abortion back then – illegal, but still freely available.

    When Oklahoma went wet, the religious forces made sure to keep a tight leash on sales of wine, good beer, and liquor. Only places named “retail liquor store” could sell those things – and they could sell only those things. They could have signs outside only with tiny letters saying that and nothing else. In that way, the strange entity known as the mom-and-pop liquor store was born in Oklahoma. Those never made sense, but neither do a lot of other things in our great state.

    Now Walmart wants to compete with Mom and Pop, and will likely win. When Walmart came to town, it competed with lots of other Mom and Pop entities, and it usually won big. Mom and Pop had to retire – or go to work at Walmart.

    We go occasionally to the Walmart Supercenter in Joplin. They sell a lot of booze, but their selection is very limited – a lot like their selection of beer and wine in Oklahoma. Just the best sellers, thank you.

    If Walmart can sell booze in Oklahoma, Mom and Pop will lose their best sellers and will have to compete in niche markets, selling things like a wide variety of craft beer, a large selection of wines, and specialty liquors like expensive tequila. Some independent stores will succeed. Many will not.

    It’s late-stage capitalism American style, baby. Survival of the fittest, aka the biggest. Dog eat dog. No more government picking winners and losers, like favoring Mom and Pop over retail powerhouses. Antiquated state laws? Get rid of ’em! They’re running specials on state legislators right now – get yours cheap!

    1. I started to make a late stage capitalism remark but figured you were already on it. Just wait until Walmart decides it is time to get into the plumbing, roofing and heat and air business. I would imagine Markwayne “Turdfister” Mullen will fight then. But I also imagine they’d pay him to close his doors and he’d sell out every small business owner possible bc you know, greed takes precedent over what is right and any idea the founding fathers ever had. Late stage capitalism baby!

  2. Wine is fine but liquor is quicker.

  3. Not that I drink that often but when I do I enjoy the knowledge I have access to at Freeman’s or even Byron’s. Both with great beer and wine selections. I like those folks. Why does Walmart constantly have to have their finger in everyone’s pot? Speaking of, when can we expect Walmart to start opening dispensaries with their always value brand weed?

    1. It’s hard to beat Byron’s, or Quicker Liquor on the southside of OKC. You have to wonder that at some point in time, no one’s going to have a job in order to afford shopping at Wallymart.

  4. Although I’m not as old as Graychin, I’m not far behind. I can remember going into bars and buying beer and carrying it out as an 18-year-old female while males had to be 21 to purchase beer. Those guys were going off to VietNam but a girl had to buy their beer before they went. Needless to say, I bought a lot of beer while living in rural Oklahoma. This was one liquor law that never made much sense to me.

    1. Remember getting caught with beer in the car, they’d take it and send you home?

      1. Haha–yes. We even had a male student bring his hunting rifle into the school because he was mad at another student. The superintendent took the rifle away from him and told him to get to class. That was the end of it.

    2. We had this tiny little bar in the middle of nowhere that had a button to push at the back door to ring a bell. They would sell to anybody. Behind the bar was a junk yard with an old dump truck. We spent many a night in the bed of that truck.

  5. Mark this date for the Duke prediction. You read it first on the Lost Ogle.

    1. For the record, I do not want to be right. I can say comfortably, greed must be more addictive than heroin and way more destructive to more peoples lives.

  6. I take issue with your comment of ” do we really want to allow the sale of Jack Daniels where they sell guns and ammo”. That’s pretty narrow minded in that they already sell wine, beer, malt products that mimmick hard liquor………if the access to alcohol and guns/ammo is an issue that shipped has sailed!

    Im not sure if I agree or not with them selling hard liquor, and I don’t want liquor stores to go out of business, I actually wished Wal-Mart would cease to exist…….but times change,remember Hollywood Video-Blockbuster-1 Hour Moto Foto…………..and so on.

    It’s hard to remember, realize, this is related to the buying habits of the consumer and they drive what, where, how things are sold most of the time, even if there are laws/regs in place to try to control…………… Just my ramblings.

    1. You’re last paragraph is spot on. The consumer has all of the power. If we, the consumer, want to keep Mom and Pop liquor stores floating, then we will. What hurts the Mom/Pop is that, in most circumstances, the consumer chooses the lower price for the same product (why wouldn’t they?).

  7. Fuck WalMart

  8. Can you imagine Walmart having it’s own dispensory? The return of cheap southwest Oklahoma skunk. Mother nature, with all the seeds and stems you can pick.

  9. I’ve found my local package store has a better selection and comparable prices for wine that I see at the big box stores. They’re not selling value or selection, they’re just going for convenience- thinking you’ll purchase at the grocery store and not go down the street to a package store. Me, I need the selection. I pick up bottles that only two stores carry in town. If they go under, I’ll never get what I want.

    1. I still go to Joe’s to buy my beer. Cheaper than Homeland & WM doesn’t even carry it. Imagine that!!!!!

  10. …..and continuing my thought, if there’s something I want, they’ll order it for me. I’ll never get that at the box store. So if they change the laws, go all the way and allow mail order delivery.

  11. If they sell Tokay at Walmart I’ll buy it. Tough to find it around this part of the world.

  12. We love our White Russians in Mustang. I worked my butt off browbeating the ladies at work today. It’s so good being an overpaid state employee!

  13. There’s less interesting food and drink in the grocery stores now that they have to take up space selling wine, beer, and now liquor.

  14. Pat McFerron, founding partner of CMA Strategies, to initiate a legislative lobbying campaign…”

    Something like sprinkling fairy dust? Serving a little BBQ [Swablillies], passing around the collection plate [in reverse]. Sure will be a lot of hands out, Christian hands, God fearing hands, SHOOT STEVE, WHO YOU KIDDING? It’ll be a wholesale trough.

  15. Kmart’s better….

  16. Walmart makes it hard for any business to compete with them when they set their sights on an industry. Their exclusivity deals or first shipment clauses smother anything in their way. Not to mention the power that comes with a large purchase order. Who do you think the suppliers are going to cater to? But this is a red state and a lot of those mom-and-pop store owners probably voted for these clowns who now have control of their future. Who knows maybe it will be like when Walmart ran all of the small town stores out of business only to later close their own stores. Maybe a Dollar General or Dollar Tree-type liquor store will take over after Walmart abandons the business. Or not.

  17. In California when they say “let’s go to the liquor store.” They mean Walgreens in most cases; since Walmarts are few and far between out there…If one doesn’t do it another will.

    On the other hand there is plenty of meddlin’ to be done over in that there maryjane industry…dun,dun,dun:() Why bother with a vice they use when there’s a perfectly judgable one down the road to pick on and tax and price hike;)

  18. Walmart already killed small businesses in rural towns decades ago. Why stop now? All we hear from Kevy and the boys is how they support small business. My bet is on Walmart. Maybe, Walmart can take over Kevy’s execution business. After all, 25 executions in 25 months has a nice ring to it.

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