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Archive for Monday, January 16, 2012

Kansas liquor stores back measure to allow tastings

January 16, 2012

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— Some Kansas liquor store owners are hoping the Legislature makes it legal for them to hold tastings in which customers can sample certain products before buying them.

A measure introduced in the state Senate by several liquor marketing associations is the result of a controversy that emerged after retailers started arranging tastings near their liquor stores.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that because state law blocked consumption of alcoholic beverages inside stores, proprietors staged events nearby. That stopped after representatives of the Kansas Department of Revenue issued a policy memorandum in August declaring that the agency’s interpretation of state law prohibited samplings, whether free or not, “in, on, or about the licensed premises.”

The Senate measure would allow retailers to host in-store tastings for people interested in trying unfamiliar beers, wines or distilled spirits.

“We’ve talked about it,” said Shawn McKeever, a liquor store clerk at Fleming Place Wine and Spirits in Topeka. “We sell a lot of craft beer.”

Regulators concluded no tastings would be authorized for party or smoke shops, parking lots, sidewalks or alleys adjacent to liquor store property.

R.E. “Tuck” Duncan, a Statehouse lobbyist working with organizations seeking to get the bill passed, said the intent was to establish in state law the opportunity for liquor stores to host tastings similar to those well known to wine country enthusiasts.

A Senate hearing on the bill is likely in a few weeks, and Duncan said the measure hasn’t sparked an outpouring of criticism.

“The prospects are very good, but being a liquor bill, I’m cautiously optimistic,” Duncan said.

Individual portions for tastings would be limited to one-half ounce for distilled spirits, one ounce for wine and two ounces for beer or malt beverage.

Chairmen of the House and Senate committees likely to handle the bill indicated they are not troubled by its concept.

Salina Republican Sen. Pete Brungardt, chairman of the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee, said the principle has been used at farm wineries in Kansas that legally provided samples, and retail liquor stores should reasonably be able to market their products in the same manner.

Rep. Steve Brunk, a Wichita Republican who is chairman of the House Federal and State Affairs Committee, said he was familiar with Macadoodles establishments in southern Missouri, where in-store tastings and a “Wine 101” course for novices are offered.

“We’re not breaking new ground,” he said. “It’s already being done in other states.”

Alcoholic Beverage Control director Doug Jorgensen, who is a former special agent with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, said his agency is neutral on the measure.

Comments

Dan Blomgren 2 years, 3 months ago

Is no one angered by the fact that the Alcohol Beverage Control is now mandating not only what liquor retailers are doing in their store, but also what they are doing outside their store? So the ABC has passed a measure NOT allowing stores to hold tastings in public venues adjacent to the liquor store. What gives them the authority to determine whether or not a liquor store can hold a tasting in a legal nearby business where it would be perfectly legal? How asinine is that? Can I hold a tasting at a restaurant that is 10 feet away? NO! How about 20 ft away? NO! 40 ft away? NO! How about 60 ft away? Yes, you can hold a tasting 60 ft away. Where is the logic in that? It is so arbitrary its absurd! So if the liquor store is right next to a restaurant and both parties agree to the tasting the government can come in and say 'no'. Based on what legal precedent? And remember people this is a legal product being consumed by legally aged adults. What's next? You can't take the medicine you just left the pharmacy with until you clear the parking lot.

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kujhawker 2 years, 3 months ago

You think Kansas laws are bass-ackwards, go northwest. In Idaho, you can't buy liquor and beer in the same store. They close around 8pm and no Sunday sales...

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kujhawker 2 years, 3 months ago

You think Kansas laws are bass-ackwards, go northwest. In Idaho, you can't buy liquor and beer in the same store. They close around 8pm and no Sunday sales...

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GUMnNUTS 2 years, 3 months ago

Don't get to excited about free booze, stores will be limited on the size and number of samples.

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Enlightenment 2 years, 3 months ago

When I moved here eight years ago and unaware of the no liquor sales on Sunday, I attempted to buy beer at Target on a Sunday afternoon. The clerk informed me that she could not sell me beer on Sunday. When asked why, she informed me that it was against the law, "because of god and all."

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gsxr600 2 years, 3 months ago

Kansas has some of the most backwards liquor laws.

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David Albertson 2 years, 3 months ago

Really? In Kansas? We're lucky to have Sunday liquour sales. The bible thumping Republicans will strike this down. Hell, we can't even buy full strength beer at a grocery store. Some of these idiots still support prohibition!

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