Kansas Association
of Beverage Retailers

 

 

 

 

Uncork Kansas is sending misleading letters to Kansas Retailers

14 Feb 2014 2:15 PM | Anonymous

Uncork Kansas is advertising their new bill as one that accommodates the needs of liquor store owners by stretching expansion of strong beer, wine and spirits into the grocery stores and convenience store shelves over a ten year period of time.  The bill caps class C licenses, but that is a FAKE CAP.   There is no limit on the number of new STRONG BEER licenses and BEER AND WINE licenses in the bill.  Retailers have received two misleading letters.

Uncork Kansas tells liquor store owners they are doing a better job of trying to help small liquor stores than the liquor lobbyists in Topeka – and they ask store owners to join their effort.  We know that the bill written by the big box stores does not create fair competition for Kansas owned liquor stores.  But their letter sounds like a good deal.  Don’t buy it.   

Are they serious? 

Uncork Kansas says their effort to change liquor laws in Kansas has “created for some the faulty perception that we don’t care about you, the liquor store owner.”  According to their letter, they care so much that they are advocating a license freeze.   Their “freeze” only affects beer, wine and spirits licenses, allowing hundreds or thousands of new strong beer licenses in three years and the same number of strong beer/wine licenses in six years.  Plus, it allows corporate big box stores – and everyone else – to sell strong beer, wine and spirits by purchasing a license in one year.   You, however, won’t be allowed to put other products in your store until much later (2020).

They argue that the liquor lobbyists are “actually more vested in the best interests of only a select few, not the entire body of Kansas liquor store owners.”  What is their evidence?  They attach a list of members of the Kansas Association for Responsible Liquor laws – and print in bold across the top:  Who does the liquor lobby represent?  Only the most profitable liquor stores in the most populated areas of KS.   They got one thing right - KARLL IS a small association recently created to link some of the larger stores in Kansas.

They conveniently ignore – or completely dismiss - the KANSAS ASSOCIATION OF BEVERAGE RETAILERS – the statewide association created BY liquor store owners FOR liquor store owners 65 years ago.  That is odd, since our lobbyist met with the Kroger/Dillons president and lobbyist a couple of days before this letter appeared in retailers mailboxes.   KABR has been successfully fighting this kind of le gislation for decades. 

Even more insulting – the letter claims that “Liquor store owners are ready to sell their business.  Yet they’re stuck because no one is interested in buying a liquor store when question loom over how the Kansas legislature will respond to continued efforts to modernize liquor laws.”  It is the looming threat of Uncork legislation that discourages some people from buying a liquor store…. So, their answer is to pass the very legislation that threatens the profitability of an independent liquor store?  Are we really supposed to believe that a grocery store will offer us more money to get out of the business than an entrepreneur who wants to buy a healthy retail store now?   They talk about expansion - are we supposed to believe that a bank is more likely to loan money to a small store for expansion AFTER the Big Box Liquor Bill is passed? 

KABR represents approximately 200 - 225 liquor stores from across the state.  This number goes up and down year by year, but it always includes some of the smallest liquor stores from some of the smallest towns in Kansas, as well as many of the largest stores.   KABR is not giving up on the current Kansas retail liquor marketplace.  It is already privatized, already competitive, and provides a good balance of free enterprise and regulation of an adult-only product.  This is what is best for Kansas and for Kansans.

We will continue to represent the best interests of our members – the Kansas owned liquor stores. 

Kansas Association of Beverage Retailers       P.O. Box 3842, Topeka, KS  66604      Email KABR  

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