Oklahoma Retailers are Preparing for Big Changes to Beer, Liquor and Wine Sales

The Oklahoma Regulations Governing the Sale of Wine and Beer Amendment, also known as State Question 792, was on the November 8, 2016 ballot in Oklahoma. The SQ 792 supported completely changing the laws governing alcohol sales and distribution in the state, allowing grocery stores and convenience stores the ability to sell full-strength beer and wine. The SQ 792 was approved and will go into effect starting October 1, 2018.

Currently, the Oklahoma law allows beverages containing less than 3.2% ethanol by weight or 4% alcohol by volume to only be sold in licensed liquor stores at room temperature. Grocery stores and convenience stores are able to sell low-point beer at refrigerated temperatures. However, with the passing of SQ 792, any establishment with an alcohol license will be allowed to sell full-strength beer and refrigerated wine.

Being able to sell refrigerated alcohol beverages is the key change for many retailers in Oklahoma. Several of these retail locations have already started preparing for the changes that will go into effect this fall. Liquor stores are adding refrigerated storage, merchandising coolers and beer caves to their retail locations. Convenience stores that were only able to sell certain alcohol at cold temperatures, can now add to their display coolers. Retailers that have not started to prepare for these changes will need to act fast.

Although U.S. Cooler does not sell direct to merchants, we can help in the design and planning stages for additional cold storage space. Whether additional merchandising coolers or a Brew Cave is needed, U.S. Cooler can help retailers create the cold storage merchandising space required for this change.

Beer display in convenience store

 

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U.S. Cooler manufactures walk-in coolers and freezers supported with a complete line of engineered refrigeration systems, glass doors, parts and accessories. To learn more about U.S. Cooler, visit www.uscooler.com.

 

New Vert-Ergo™ Handle a Success

Have you ever wondered, why residential refrigerator handles are vertical and walk-in cooler/freezer handles are horizontal? Maybe you haven’t, but we have. We have witnessed the struggle of restaurant employees opening their walk-in cooler door several times with an awkward, uncomfortable reach with their hand gripping down. So we thought, why can’t walk-ins be designed with a more comfortable handle? This lead to the design of the Vert-Ergo™ walk-in cooler/freezer handle.

In April, U.S. Cooler launched the release of the Vert-Ergo handle for walk-in coolers and freezers. The Vert-Ergo handle is the industry’s first vertically positioned walk-in cooler or freezer handle. The vertical handle design places your hand further from the hinges on the door, which in turn, makes a substantial decrease in the effort required to open the door. When users grip the Vert-Ergo handle, they use a more natural, vertical grip allowing the use of powerful muscles in the forearm and upper arm. The round handle allows for a full grip making it more comfortable to use.

With over 200 Vert-Ergo handles in the field, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the usage of the vertical handle. The simplistic yet strong design looks a bit different than the horizontal handle, but users enjoy the ergonomic benefits.

U.S. Cooler’s new Vert-Ergo handle is built to exact standards with a quality you can see and feel. It is available with an externally mounted lock or as a standalone handle. A padlock can be added as an additional locking mechanism. The handle is mounted with a glow-in-the-dark safety release located inside the walk-in. The Vert-Ergo handle can be mounted on either a right hand or left hand opening door.

The Downside of Open Air Refrigerated Display Cases

open air merchandising case
Display cases can be convenient for customers, but a hit on your bottom line.

Open air refrigerated display cases commonly seen in grocery stores can provide easy access to products for customers. The main problem with these refrigerators is that they are constantly fighting the ambient air, causing their refrigeration units to work much harder than if they were enclosed. They also increase heating bills for grocery stores in the winter as they constantly dump cold air into the heated building. You’ll know this to be true if you’ve ever caught a chill while walking through grocery aisles with display cases. Grocery stores are starting to catch on to the benefits of walk-in coolers and substituting glass-door merchandising walk-ins and walk-in dairy rooms for these cases. The following article details the energy saving efforts of a grocery store chain in Britain.

Makro is to install walk-in dairy rooms at 17 of its 30 cash & carries by the end of the year.

The move is part of an energy saving drive which will enable pubs to source supplies with a smaller carbon footprint. The dairy rooms save energy compared to fridges and chillers in the main store area.

An energy saving experiment for your grocery store

A research study at Kettering University in Michigan investigated how to make an open refrigerated display case (like those found in grocery stores) operate more efficiently.  The study concluded that raising the temperature setting while lowering the air velocity from the refrigeration would not only provide energy savings, but the food was actually kept cooler.

Lower infiltration [of warm air] means the air is coming out at a lower velocity, said Navaz. “Previously, air came out of the upper vent (or grille) of a specific display case at 90 feet per minute. We calculated the optimal speed as 65 feet per minute as an optimal discharge air velocity to yield lower infiltration rate,” he said.

By reducing the velocity by 30 percent, infiltration was reduced by 12 percent and the power required was reduced by 13 percent.

Increasing the temperature at the discharge air grille by about 1 degree (F) and lowering the velocity of air resulted in lower suction pressure at the compressor inletwhich reduced the compressor usage and therefore less energy consumption.

Infiltration represents 83 percent of the cooling load and is the biggest draw on energy of refrigerated display cases. Less energy use translates into real cost savings to the tune of about $13 million for the state of California alone, according to Navaz.

In addition to energy savings, lowering the pressure on the compressor also extends the life of the compressor and creates more cost savings over the long term.

Click here to read the entire Kettering refrigeration study.