SB 221 was introduced last year at the request of the Kansas Restaurant and Hospitality Association to expand growler sales to restaurants (clubs and drinking establishment licensees). The Kansas Senate has passed the bill, and it now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
KABR requested an amendment to include retail liquor stores, and the bill was passed as amended by the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee.
See the Legislation AT THIS LINK.
If passed by the Senate, the bill must go to the House of Representatives for further action.
Kansas liquor stores are eager to find options to attract and retain customers following the implementation of the Beer Law last April, that shifted a large portion of beer sales to grocery and convenience stores. There are 26 fewer liquor stores licensed today than in 2017 – the year the Beer Law was passed by the Legislature.
What are we talking about? Growlers are refillable containers used for beer. Most often, these are made from dark brown glass and are 64oz. They resemble a larger bottle or jug. The smaller 32oz versions are called howlers. Sold only at Kansas microbreweries today, you’ll find these at breweries with their logo on them. They have metal screw lids and are quite simple in appearance and function. In addition to glass, there are growlers made from stainless steel and other materials that keep the beer cold and fresh longer. Crowlers are quite a bit different but accomplish the same goal. They are 32oz cans that can be filled and sealed onsite. Just like a normal sized can; once opened, it can’t be resealed so it should be consumed immediately.
We believe that selling these products in retail liquor stores could be a benefit to our customers and craft brewers, as well as our small businesses. Another amendment added by the Committee will help to avoid unintended consequences. Our members expressed concerns about legislation that might provide late night drinkers with a “to go” option just before closing time at the local watering hole. We do not want to see this become a literal option for “one more for the road”. The amendment will limit sales to 11 p.m. – as recommended by the Director of Alcoholic Beverage Control.