Strong Beer Bill Proposed by Beer Wholesalers
Trigger Bill would take effect if cereal malt beverage market changes.
This week, the Kansas Beer Wholesalers Association requested introduction of a strong beer bill. The bill - called a "Trigger Bill" by the proponents - was introduced by the Senate Federal and State Affairs Bill.
The concept of the bill is to allow the sale of strong beer in the grocery and convenience stores if the Kansas market for cereal malt beverage should change. The legislation is supposed to "protect" beer wholesalers from potential loss of sales that might occur if public ballots in Oklahoma or Colorado do away with 3.2 sales in those states.
KABR learned that this legislation was being drafted in late January and board members have been reaching out to their beer wholesalers to learn more about it. We encourage all retailers to visit with their beer wholesalers about this proposal. The Board is concerned about the bill and opposes expanding the sale of Strong Beer to thousands of corporate chain retailers.
The Kansas Wine and Spirits Wholesalers Association and Kansas Association for Responsible Liquor Laws have also indicated they will not support this legislation.
We do not know when or if the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing.
There has been talk that changes in Oklahoma or Colorado might result in the beer manufacturers stopping the production of 3.2 beer in the future. This seems unlikely, with a state like Utah selling more than 25% of the 3.2 beer in the country - and very unlikely to change. It is also true that California now requires 3.2 beer to be sold in large stadiums. We will keep you informed as the debate evolves.
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The Kansas Association of Beverage Retailers offers retailer training seminars with the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. With the adoption of many new statutes and new regulations in the past three years, this education is extremely important to your business. Seminars are offered regularly from April to December at various locations throughout the state. This year, training seminars are available at regular KABR events (see calendar). Also, KABR will set up training events on request. KABR Members are eligible for two free registrations. Fees for seminars are typically around $20 per person, but can vary according to actual cost. ABC considers voluntary training to be a mitigating factor for licensee violations.
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Retailers attend legislative hearings. Photo by Kathy Damron.