Supermarkets in Kansas raised a glass to a victory this week as state lawmakers finally passed a measure allowing full-strength beer to be sold in grocery stores.
With the signature of Gov. Sam Brownback, grocers and convenience store operators can start selling regular beer in 2019, according to an Associated Press report.
For years, only liquor stores in Kansas could sell beer containing up to 6 percent alcohol, while the state's grocers were restricted to offering beverages containing 3.2 percent alcohol.
In exchange for the new freedom granted to grocery and c-stores, liquor stores will be able to sell lower-alcohol beverages, along with other products such as mixers, tobacco products and lottery tickets, AP reported.
State lawmakers debated the issue for years, with opponents arguing that large supermarket chains could put small liquor stores out of business.
The issue was championed by grocery retailers represented by the group Uncork Kansas, which was led by former Kroger CEO David Dillon after he retired from the Cincinnati-based company. A Kansas native, Dillon got his start in the grocery business at his family’s supermarket chain, Dillons, which was acquired by Kroger in 1983.