WICHITA, Kan. -
Uncork Kansas is trying again this year to pass a bill that would allow grocery and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer and wine.
The lobbyist group says limiting grocery stores to only selling beer with a lower alcohol content of 3.2% is a problem, since only a handful of states sell it.
"With only three states selling 3.2 beer, you limit the ability to have products to put on the shelf," said Jessica Lucas, a lobbyist with Uncork Kansas. "We need the government to allow us to sell beer without the definition that it must be 3.2 beer."
Lucas says the bill would also benefit liquor stores by allowing them to sell things like chips, corkscrews, mixers, and other non-alcoholic products.
One thing that sets the 2017 bill apart from previous attempts is the exclusion of spirits from the list. Lucas says this bill aims to let grocery stores sell beer and wine, but leaves spirits to liquor stores only.
"It's an issue of consumer choice, and should the government be allowed to dictate where customers shop?" Lucas said.
Groups representing independent liquor stores have been opposing this kind of legislation for years. Currently, those stores are the only stores in Kansas allowed to sell full-strength beer, wine and liquor.
Those opponents have said in the past that if the bill passed, it would put liquor stores out of business and let the big retail stores take over.