New liquor law revives happy hour in Kansas

? Happy hour is legal once again in Kansas, and while not every bar owner has immediate plans to start offering limited-time drink specials, many are pleased they’ll stop losing business to neighboring states like Missouri.

The end of the happy-hour ban instituted by Kansas in 1985 is among numerous liquor law changes taking effect today under legislation signed by Gov. Sam Brownback in late May.

Others include letting certain wineries sell and serve their products on their premises and permitting retailers such as grocery and liquor stores to offer free samples and hold wine and beer tastings — although grocery stores still cannot sell wine and hard liquor, The Kansas City Star reported Saturday.

The 1985 ban on happy hour technically prohibited bars and restaurants from changing drink prices during the day. Lawmakers were concerned the promotions led to drunken driving by encouraging patrons to consume too much, too quickly, especially in the traditional after-work happy hour period.

But the ban had some perhaps unforeseen consequences. Many owners responded by offering daylong specials, such as well drinks for $2.50 or bottles of beer for $2. And along the state’s eastern border, patrons could simply head to the nearest Missouri bar offering happy hour.