Hard liquor could be sold in Kansas grocery stores

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - A proposal to put hard liquor in Kansas grocery and convenience stores will go before the lawmakers again this year.

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce and a long list of grocery stores want to allow Kansas stores to sell wine, liquor and full-strength beer.

Currently, Kansas grocery stores are only allowed to sell weaker malt beverages on shelves. Kansas law only allows retail liquor stores now to sell the full-strength alcohol. The Chamber wants lawmakers to rewrite the state's liquor laws this session.

"It is a free market and now Kansas is picking winners and losers who can't sell a legal product," Chamber Vice President Kent Eckles said.

But liquor stores and the Retail Liquor Dealers Association in Topeka predict if a law is passed, half of the state's liquor stores would be forced to close.

"Why is the Chamber involved in shutting Kansas businesses down?" asked Amy Campbell, with the trade association.

Liquor store owners fear being pushed out of business through competition with the big retail chains.

Lawmakers voted a similar measure down last year, partly because of the complicated change in the tax structure.

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