Recently Kansas has been trying to update some of their liquor laws. One of which is the ability to sell high percentage alcohol in grocery stores and convenient stores. For those of you not familiar with the Kansas liquor ways allow me to enlighten you. Grocery stores and convenient stores are allowed to only sell 3.2% ABV beer. Liquor stores are allowed to sell all other forms of beer and liquor. I’m not taking a side on this issue strictly because I can see the good and bad on both sides of the issues. Some of the good I see is the ability to have good craft beer found in every grocery store in the state leading to more people drinking good beer. This might cause liquor stores to suffer somewhat as now people could buy their groceries and beer in one place without making any unnecessary stops. My take on that is I’m not going to stop going to liquor stores just because I can now buy better beer at the grocery store. I’m sure that these places won’t be selling the special beers that come in large single bottles. Those are sometimes the best beers out there and it would seem weird to go to a convenient store and buy a bottle of barleywine or Belgian quad.
As we’ve mentioned before we lived in Atlanta GA for almost 5 years. They allow liquor to be sold in grocery stores and convenient stores. Problem with that is the selection was still never that good. I used to travel the state of Georgia a lot and would peruse the beer aisle in the grocery stores. I would often buy my groceries and then head to the liquor store for a better selection. The mom and pop liquor stores seem to be really worried they will lose business but I don’t see that at all. I see breweries reaching out to a whole new set of clients and spreading the gosspel on good craft beer.
I may seem that I’m all for it at the moment but I assure you I’m not. Let’s look at some hypothetical situations. What if the law passes and within one year the liquor stores in Kansas begin closing at a very rapid rate? It could happen. People are lazy and like to support large conglomerate business and if they can buy their beer, groceries, and clothes in one place then they will do that. If that happens then yes liquor stores are doomed.
I was reading the Facebook page of someone that spent the entire day yesterday sitting in on the committee meetings in Topeka and reading through comments about it. One person posted that they lived in Arizona where grocery stores are allowed to sell liquor and beer and all the small liquor stores are gone. The only thing left are large warehouse style liquor stores that have a larger inventory then grocery stores can carry. I don’t know how true any of that is but that is a scary thought. Or is it? I wouldn’t mind going to an extremely large liquor store with a selection that is out of this world on craft beer to make my purchases. Although perhaps that law should be changed to include only beer instead of wine and liquor. That way there is always a reason to go to a smaller liquor store.
I remember when Sunday sales was the hot topic issue. So I’m sure this will be an issue for some time even after the law is passed or not. All I can say is that if the law doesn’t pass then we need to focus on changing the ABV laws so local breweries are allowed to brew 3.2% beer and higher alcohol content beer (perhaps the 20% range?). Let me know what your thoughts are on this in the comments below. I know I don’t have the full story for either side so don’t be mad at me just educate me on the full issues.
UPDATE!! Looks like 2017 grocery stores might be able to sell full strength beer, wine, and liquor.
UPDATE 2!! Just wanted to update this with the latest news. The Senate said they don’t know when they will debate this bill but they are trying to figure out what the people want. Here is the extended version of what I just typed.