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Johnson County breweries hopeful voters will get rid of law requiring food sales

Posted at 6:11 PM, Oct 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-09 19:26:26-04

SHAWNEE, Kan. — Breweries in Johnson County are hoping voters will get rid of a law from the 1980s requiring 30 percent of their sales to be from food.

A measure to remove the law is on the November ballot. Currently, Johnson County is the only one in Kansas that still has the law on the books.

David Harris, co-owner of Pathlight Brewing in Shawnee, said the requirement was a little easier to hit in the 80s when beer was cheaper, but that was long before the craft beer scene.

"It really has no meaningful benefit to us as a company," Harris said. "In fact, we would probably actually sell more food without the logistical hoops that we have to jump through with that thirty percent requirement."

Harris believes breweries would have more food opportunities with outside businesses if the law was removed.

"We have to make sure that we're tracking all the food sales through our business, and so there's an extra layer there that frankly some food service providers just don't want to hassle with," Harris said.

The law doesn't require businesses to make the food, which is why many partner with outside vendors like food trucks.

Chris Roberts, co-owner of Red Crow Brewing, said it's a mutual beneficial relationship. The trucks drive customers to stay longer and spend more money. However, there are some drawbacks.

"If we had some customers come in and they only spent $100 but we were guaranteeing our food truck $500 for that time slot that ends up being a net loss for us," Roberts said.

Voters can find the measure at the very bottom of their ballot. Voting 'yes' means you want to remove the law.

"When it goes away after this November election, hopefully, that will be a big lift for us," Harris said.