PITTSBURG — Beginning Monday, stronger beer is now for sale at Kansas grocery and convenience stores.
Previously, state law prevented beer with an alcohol content higher than 3.2 percent from being sold at these stores, and instead it had to be bought at liquor stores. Grocery and convenience stores can now sell beer up to 6 percent alcohol by volume.
Under the 2017 law that goes into effect this week, liquor stores can also sell more non-alcoholic products, such as shot glasses, mixers, lottery tickets and tobacco products, according to the Associated Press.
Kansas lawmakers have debated the issue for years. Opponents had expressed concerns that large grocery chains would put independent liquor stores out of business. The legislation passed by voters two years ago is viewed as a compromise that allowed liquor stores to keep rights to wine and hard liquor, while expanding their nonalcoholic product offerings, the AP reported.
Tim Rhodes, store manager at Ron’s Supermarket in Pittsburg, which is now selling stronger beer, said he thinks the change will be good for business.
“There’s a wide variety of beers we weren’t able to carry before the change,” Rhodes said. He added that stronger beer is what many customers are looking for, and that a lot of beer makers do not make a version of their beer with a lower alcohol content.
Denise Grasso, co-owner of Pairott Head Liquor in Pittsburg, meanwhile, said business at the store will largely continue as usual.
“We’re just going to continue providing customer service like we have,” she said, although there will be some small changes to how the store is set up.
“We’ve already had tobacco products, we’ve already had soda, we’ve already had ice. It just allows us, the new law allows us, as opposed to having a smoke shop or tobacco shop separate from the liquor store, now somebody can come in and in one transaction pay for everything,” Grasso said. “So it allows us to just change the footprint a little, if you will.”