Thursday, February 5, 2009

When is Beer Not Beer?

When it's 3.2, that's when. There's a battle going on in the statehouse of Kansas regarding the sale of beer. Current law requires some stores, particularly grocery and convenience stores, to sell beer that is no more than 3.2 percent alcohol. Even the most occasional of beer drinkers know that beer comes in a variety of alcohol levels - a cornicopia, as it were.

So, what's the big deal? The big deal is that if you buy your beer in a Kansas liquor store you get the beer the rest of the normal world gets. If you're on your way home from work and just feel like stopping by the local convenience mart on your way home you get the watered down stuff. The Kansas House and Senate will be weighing in on the debate that is, according to, driven by the larger grocers. In the online article, Quik Trip spokesperson Mike Thornbrugh says “We know the law, and we will always do the right thing. Quite frankly, we're getting tired of their same old story. They really don't want competition and they need to be truthful about it."

Of course, the sage and wise stewards of liqour stores are not concerned about competition. To them, it's a matter of policing underage drinking - more stores selling real beer means more policing and that, in turns, means more cost to the state. Sounds reasonable - surely the big grocers have great difficulty calculating and verifying a buyers age when reviewing the Kansas driver's license.

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