To the editors:
The recent article, Duopoly or pro-business? Shots taken in liquor distribution fight, neglected to include the perspective of manufacturers — those who would be forced to deal with the significant changes imposed under SB 608. This legislation is an unconstitutional effort by an aggrieved business to usurp the will of Oklahoma voters. On Oct. 1, 2018, new alcohol laws went into effect that modernized the Oklahoma marketplace. Manufacturers, distributors and retailers invested in complying with this new law to create a better environment for consumers to purchase wine and spirits.
Beverage alcohol goes through a three-tier system of distribution where manufacturers are required to sell to wholesalers, who then sell to retailers. Wholesalers are the only channel through which a brand can be distributed. Suppliers should maintain the right to choose the best wholesaler for each of their brands in order to ensure that Oklahoma consumers receive the best possible service.
Forcing manufacturers to work with a distributor, regardless of their ability or commitment to quality control, is against the values of a free and fair market. Oklahoma is best served by respecting the voters who approved State Question 792 and not drastically changing a law that went into effect less than six months ago. SB 608 is a blunt tool to circumvent what is best for Oklahoma wine and spirits consumers. Legislators should reject it decisively.
Vice president, Distilled Spirits Council
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