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Stores across Kansas prep for liquor law change starting April 1

(KWCH)
Published: Feb. 26, 2019 at 4:52 PM CST
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Starting April 1, you'll be able to buy full-strength beer at grocery or convenience stores in Kansas.

With about one month before it happens, grocery stores, convenience stores and liquor stores across the state are gearing up for the big change to what they sell alcohol.

Currently in Kansas, if you want to drink beer with an alcohol content above 3.2 percent, you have to go to a liquor store to get it. You can buy domestic beer at convenience stores and grocery stores, but it won't have the full alcohol content.

Full-strength beer will be available at grocery and convenience stores starting April 1. However, there's still a cap with those stores only able to sell beer up to six percent, which doesn't include a lot of the craft beers.

Opponents of the change say it should scare small liquor stores forced to compete for beer sales with the larger retailers. However, as some business owners point out, liquor stores still have an advantage.

"With us being able to free up some of our cooler space and make our domestic section a lower alcohol content beer a little smaller that gives us a lot of space to bring in some of the craft beers, a lot of local beers we didn't get to carry before," says The Liquor Warehouse Manager Stephanie Trottier. "So it's not really as scary as it sounds at first."

In Wichita, there's a culture surrounding craft beers made by small microbreweries. Creating the craft beers is a hobby Megan Ballway of ABC Liquor and Trottier say could pay off big for them since many craft beers exceed that 6-percent limit placed on non-liquor stores.

"It's definitely expanded the market," Ballway says.

Liquor stores Eyewitness News visited Tuesday also say they're looking forward to the opportunity to sell other things besides liquor such as cigarettes, soda and other mixers.