Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Support Senate Bill 54: Free the Wine!

It is stupid to make arguments about access and the like when we have other states to look at as a model. Missouri operates just fine with wine in grocery stores.

The simple fact is that we would be more competitive, there would be better selection of goods, we wouldn't have to make extra stops to get a bottle of wine and there simply would be more revenue from sales tax because a good percentage of grocery store sales are impulse sales....meaning you buy what isn't on your list......and sales would increase versus having to make a special trip to a dirty ass Kansas mom and pop store or a trip over to Missouri. There would be at least a 15-20% increase in sales in the first year alone!

Finally, there would be real, decent paying jobs created by all the additional sales people it would take to visit all these stores and the drivers to deliver it and yes, people working in the grocery stores as well. Also, think about Trader Joe's and Dean and Deluca with a nice wine offering. Ever seen the great prices and selection at a Costco wine section? Holy shit please, please pass.

The talk of underage drinking, access and all that is tired. The only reason not to do it is because it will cause some mom and pop stores to go out of business. That sucks but it isn't a good enough reason to do for the Kansas consumer what should have been done 75 years ago. Plus, by phasing it in....they allow an opportunity for current stores to adjust and they will also be able to offer non liquor items which they can't do now.
Here is a story in the McPherson Sentinel. Write your Senator and tell them you want this bill.

Senate bill proponents, opponents clash over liquor sales

Source: McPherson Sentinel

By Chad Frey and Sean Wardwell

There is a fight brewing in Topeka, one about who is selling alcohol, and what kinds of alcohol they are selling.
The "Jobs and Consumer Choice" coalition is pushing Senate Bill 54, which would allow grocery and convenience stores to sell full-strength alcoholic beverages - the kind currently only available in liquor stores.
Stores like Eric Kraisinger's Trail's End Liquor on Meridan in Newton.
"I think this will happen eventually," Kraisinger said. "Depending on how close you are to how close to those facilities, it will hurt you."
Currently grocery stores, convenience stores and gas stations in Kansas are allowed to sell only wine coolers and cereal-malt beverages. The bill would allow those stores to sell liquor and full-strength beer and wine.
The coalition, made up of retailers Casey's, Kroger/Dillons/Kwik Shop, Wal-Mart, Quick Trip, Hy-Vee, Henhouse, Price Chopper and Balls & Cosentio's, claims passing the bill would mean more jobs and economic growth for the state of Kansas.
It's a claim that does not ring true with Kraisinger, or liquor store owners and the "Keep Kansans in Business" coalition.
"For every job it creates there, it will eliminate one at liquor stores," Kraisinger said. "It just spreads sales out more to more vendors. Just because Wal-Mart gets into the business does not mean there will be a 10 percent increase in sales."
Still, legislators will debate a bill with the following numbers backing it: 15,367 jobs, $343.6 million in wages and $72.5 million in revenue, according to the Jobs and Consumer Choice Coalition Web site.
Those numbers are disputed, and ring hollow for Rep. Don Schroeder (R-Inman) who represents House District 74, which contains portions of Harvey and McPherson counties.
"While sales of liquor may increase, mostly near the state borders, I seriously doubt the number of jobs, and revenues, will increase nearly as much as the study says," Schroeder said. "Some stores will be put out of business, and the large grocers are very good at making the best use of existing employees."
Schroeder said he has other questions as well, like how close the state is to saturation for liquor sales - if there is really room for sales to go up - and if there really will be more revenue generated for the state.
"Two reasons for doubting the study are that bordering states already have more liberal liquor laws, and the Kansas sales tax is higher than the border states," Schroeder said.
The state currently has 766 liquor stores. According to a study by Art Hall of The University of Kansas, about 341 of those would go out of business if the bill passes. The same study concluded there would be 116 new grocery stores open.
In McPherson County, support for the bill among grocers is lukewarm at best, and has provoked outrage among liquor store owners.
"I don't think I'd be interested at all. I know there is probably money to be made there but I'm not inclined to," said Orville Koehn, owner of Canton Grocery.
Terry Culver, owner of Culver's Wine and Spirits, said that he and his family opened the first liquor store in the county 35 years ago and doesn't appreciate the state changing the rules his store has operated under.
"There's a lot of reasons the state set this up and kept it separate from grocery stores," Culver said. "It seems to me like they're changing the rules. It makes no sense at all."
Culver also pointed out that allowing hard liquor in grocery stores would make it more accessible to minors.
No matter what numbers, or how many numbers, get thrown at Topeka in the coming weeks, there is another aspect of the proposal that has some legislators concerned.
"I find it very difficult to allow grocery stores and other similar retailers to sell liquor because I do not support making alcoholic beverages more available," Schroeder said. "In terms of social significance, alcohol has a much bigger impact for problems like domestic violence and poverty than does tobacco, so why should we make alcohol more available than it already is?"
If retailers are successful, Kraisinger said it will not be a death knoll for his store, but there will be changes to how liquor stores do business.
"What I have studied is in other states that allow it, there are still liquor stores, but they handle more specialty items," Kraisinger said. "You have to get more into the craft beers and high-end liquors and wines."
The bill would freeze the number of liquor licenses allowed in the state for three years to allow liquor stores to adjust to the new competition.
Under the bill liquor stores could add gasoline. The bill contains language that would allow liquor stores to expand their offerings, becoming more like a convience store or the old-time community grocery store.
That is a change Kraisinger would support.
"If they allow them to get into that, they should allow us to sell other things to allow us to be more of a convience stop for people," Kraisinger said. "The only downfall I see is it will cause the state to hire more agents to police it all and they will not bring in more income from the increased number of vendors."


SFRBV said...
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Kansas Sity Sinic said...

I agree, I want wine in the stores (especially the highly coveted $2 Buck Chuck), but, a "few mom and pop" shops is bit of an understatement.

Anonymous said...

So in Kansas you can't buy wine at the grocery store? That is crazy! I never realized that.

Mo Rage said...

Of course you're right about this. It's always been insane that Kansas not allow alcohol be sold at the grocery stores and on Sundays. If you want it and even if you live out in Olathe or Gardner or somewhere fairly far out there, what are you going to do but go over to Missouri--a few or several miles away--and go get it? And that whole "you can't sell food where you sell alcohol" is so 18th Century. It's crazy.

That said, if I'm a "Mom and Pop" liquor store owner, I'm screaming my head off in complaints. It won't help but still, I'd be squealing like a stuck pig.

Good news for wine lovers? Trader Joes coming to Ward Parkway Mall. Outstanding wines. Outstanding low prices. Really great.


Mo Rage said...

Spencer said...

Bryce said...

First of all, I'm sorry the state of Kansas is losing business to Missouri. We also gain revenue from oklahama people driving into kansas for their liquor. But did you guys up north ever think about the rest of the state? Johnson county only accounts for about 20% of the states total revenue from liquor tax and this law change will effect the entire state.
And if you want 2 buck chuck...go buy franzia. Thats what you're really asking for. Franzia bought it and put their fancy box wine in the 2 buck chuck bottle for you. The real Charles shaw winery went out out business years ago.
And if you really knew grocery stores, you know they aren't going to hire 13,000 people to work in their liquor depts, they're just going to make their hourly employees they already have stock the shelves.

grandwine said...
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Mo Rage said...

I agree with Bryce on this about the jobs. Anyone who thinks this is going to bring jobs to Kansas is sadly mistaken.

But having people cross all four state lines (NSEW) to get booze on Sundays--and I'm sure it happens--let alone just the absurd archaic nature of these silly liquor laws (18th century, as I said), it's ridiculous.

Fortunately for me, I don't live in Kansas.

Face it, the "Mom and Pop" liquor stores are likely screwed here.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the let it pass. Some grocery chains will have "wine people" in the departments. HyVee is a good example of this. Some won't. Some grocery stores will have great selection, most won't. There are many examples of markets that support independents and chains. Kansas City and St Louis both do. Will every independent stay in business, no. The advantage that independents bring is their ability to move on new items and price changes quicker. They do have to be more creative to succeed though.
What I would like to see is restaurants being able to buy direct from wholesalers, not being forced to buy from retail. Restaurants pay an extra 3-5% markup, plus the state charges them an 8% "fee" (plus sales tax on the consumer sale).

Anonymous said...

I can see that none of you are business owners or anything even close. I understand that none of you want to take the time to understand what this would do for many many I can where it may not be as much of a concern for people who live in larger areas of Kansas, but there are so many other places then eastern Kansas. I live in a town of 1200 people, there is already two liquor stores here. If this would pass it would be like opening 5 more stores. It is not that I am not fair on my pricing, it is that the business that is here would be so dispersed throughout the town. where myself and the other liquor store would not have enough business to stay open. I am 27 years old two children, I could not have that happen. The main people behind this change are large chain stores ie Walmart, Dillions, Kroeger. This money does not stay in Kansas it goes to a corp. H Q somewhere else. Kepp that in MIND you jackoffs!!!!

JOCOeveryman said...

First, I am a business owner. Second, I think we all should support less regulation in our lives....including these outdated laws.

For you liquor store owners that have posted comments I feel your pain, I really do but don't make this an Eastern Kansas vs Western or rural Kansas issue.

There are far more advantages to opening things up and while the numbers can be debated it is a net win for the state.

Bryce makes some idiotic points. We only have 20% of state sales BECUZ we lose so much business across the state line. Oklahoma? get real. Most of KC's money resides in KS and spends it in MO. That is so dumb.

The consumer has been getting screwed in KS....and as one comment also correctly pointed out....KS restaurants really get the only people we are protecting are liquor store owners.

You'll have to change your business you can sell non-liquor items. Take advantage. But let's free the wine.

MO RAGE...there will be more jobs although some of them may come at the expense of Missouri. Do you think that distributors can service all those stores with the same number of trucks, drivers, warehouse workers, sales people? No way but they know sales will increase with more points of just won't be spread out among more licenses as some suggest. Studies say more grocery stores will actually open up.

Listen, lots of small mom and pops will certainly be hurt and go out of business, I'm not denying it, but that is no reason to continue on like we have.

Anonymous said...

Borders Going out of business. They are the reason the small, local bookstores are gone, yes. Let's not let that happen to to another local industry again - ever! The big guys get rich and fewer while us regular ole folk get poorer and the middle class disappears. Check out who is behind all of the pro SB54.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kansan's - Please don't change your laws. We Missourian's like your tax dollars! :-)

Anonymous said...

Kansas can sell liquor on Sundays

JOCOeveryman said...
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Anonymous said...

Anybody ever heard of FREE TRADE? Nobody ever said, "Let's protect the mom & pop gas stations by not allowing big box stores to sell gas!" I agree, get out of the 18th century!