After Kansas legislators changed state laws to allow grocery stores and convenience stores to sell stronger beer, several cities in northeast Johnson County have been changing their codes to reflect the change.
Grocery and convenience stores are now permitted to sell beer with an alcoholic content up to 6 percent by volume under the law signed by Gov. Sam Brownback in April 2017. Those stores were previously only able to sell beer with an alcoholic content up to 3.2 percent by weight.
The new state laws will also permit drinking establishments to serve alcoholic liquor between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m. Previously, liquor could only be served between 9 a.m. and 2 a.m. Additionally, the state law change also allows liquor stores to sell related items such as mixers, ice, lottery tickets and cigars, without requiring them to keep liquor separate from non-alcoholic products.
Mary Rimann, co-owner of Rimann Liquors in Prairie Village, said that in exchange for grocery stores being permitted to sell stronger beer, Rimann Liquors and other liquor stores are also now permitted to sell lighter beers that have less than 3.2 percent alcohol by weight.
“There’s kind of been a give and take for both sides,” she said.
Both of Rimann Liquors’ stores are located near grocery stores, so the new state law could affect their liquor sales and beer-purchasing trends. But Rimann doesn’t think the law change will increase beer or alcohol sales. Rather, she thinks people will still find the most convenient place on the drive home to pick up a six-pack, although liquor stores may be more convenient to navigate than a larger grocery store.
“It’s going to be interesting to see the fallout,” she added. “In a way, it could be diluting the sales.”
The new state law ultimately relaxes restrictions on the sale of cereal malt beverages that are reminiscent of the Prohibition Era. The changes went into effect April 1.
Here’s a breakdown of code changes by city:
- Prairie Village updated the city’s entire chapter related to liquor regulations to reflect the new laws and also clean up some other out-of-date language. Instead of expanding the definition of beer or cereal malt beverage to permit the stronger alcohol content, the city added a new term, “Enhanced Cereal Malt Beverage,” which allows stronger beer not more than 6 percent alcohol by weight.Drinking establishments licensed to sell enhanced cereal malt beverages in Prairie Village are now permitted to sell alcohol on Sundays between noon and 8 p.m. but are still restricted from selling any alcohol on Easter Sunday or serving alcohol to be consumed on the premises on any Sunday. Alcohol at drinking establishments is not allowed to be consumed between 2 and 6 a.m.Drinking establishments in Prairie Village are also now allowed to give away free food and alcoholic beverages, sell an unlimited number of drinks to one person and encourage drinking games (if they want).
- Shawnee adjusted its city code to mirror the new state laws. The city also adjusted its code to permit a retailer of alcoholic liquor to sell cereal malt beverages; all references to alcoholic liquor in the code now include cereal malt beverages.
- Lenexa adjusted its city code to mirror the new state laws and also updated the city code to allow drinking establishments to serve liquor between 6 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. Previously, Lenexa city code allowed liquor to be served between 9 a.m. and 1:30 a.m.
- Overland Park adjusted its city code to mirror the new state laws and added a few new terms, including “Low-Alcohol Beer,” which defines beer containing not more than 6 percent alcohol by volume.Microbreweries, microdistilleries and farm wineries (some of Overland Park’s new defined terms) are permitted to sell alcohol between 6 a.m. and midnight Monday through Saturday and between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday.
- Mission adjusted its city code to mirror the new state laws, adding the new term “Enhanced Cereal Malt Beverage” and defining it as any beer not more than 6 percent alcohol by volume. Drinking establishments licensed to sell enhanced cereal malt beverages in Mission are now permitted to sell alcohol on Sundays between noon and 8 p.m. but are still restricted from selling any alcohol on Easter Sunday. Businesses that have a valid cereal malt beverage license and derive at least 30 percent of gross sales from food are still permitted to serve beer on the premises on any Sunday. No alcohol can be sold between midnight and 6 a.m., and alcohol at drinking establishments is not allowed to be consumed between 2 and 6 a.m.
- Roeland Park adjusted its city code to mirror the new state laws, adding the new term “Enhanced Cereal Malt Beverage” and defining it as any beer not more than 6 percent alcohol by volume.
- Merriam kept it basic. City code changes are specific to allowing cereal malt beverage licensees (grocery stores, etc.) to sell beer up to 6 percent by volume.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify Mission’s city code regarding cereal malt beverage licensees. Businesses with a valid CMB license are permitted to serve beer on premise on Sundays.