Kansas Association
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Uncork Kansas Pushing for Liquor Expansion - David Dillon to Lead the Effort

12 Jan 2015 2:56 PM | Anonymous

Another new year brings a new round of news coverage for the Uncork Kansas message.  David Dillon, newly retired CEO of the Kroger grocery chain, has been named the new chair of Uncork Kansas and has been meeting with the press and legislators to promote changing Kansas laws to put strong beer wine and spirits into corporate retailers such as grocery and convenience stores.  Read the article.  

The 2015 version of the legislation has not yet been released, but Uncork representatives say that it will include expanding the sale of strong beer to any retailer who could currently qualify to sell cereal malt beverages and grant licenses to sell strong beer, wine and spirits to grocery stores.  The proponents say that this proposal should gain more support because it will limit the number of liquor licenses in the state and those licenses would have to be purchased by the grocery store from a liquor store holding a current license thus giving some “value” to current license holders.  

Liquor store owners point to studies that indicate expanding strong beer sales to 2000 to 3000 additional outlets would be devastating to current liquor stores as proof that this proposal will not provide any “value” for existing licenses.  If current stores fail at the predicted rate of 40% or more, their licenses will likely become available for purchase for very little, or the Division of ABC will have to manage their allotment.  

Uncork says their bill should be printed - or available to read - perhaps next week.  It is anticipated that Mr. Dillon will come to Topeka to request its introduction.  

There are many open questions:  Will the bill be a true "one-strength beer" bill - eliminating 3.2 beer in Kansas altogether?  Or will it allow current CMB retailers to choose whether or not to sell stronger beer?  Will the bill attempt to raise more revenue for the State by increasing fees or taxes?  The current State budget deficit is clearly the biggest issue facing the Legislature this session.  So far, the proponents aren't saying.

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

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