Convenience stores and liquor stores prepare for changes to beer sales

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Starting next month, you can add stronger beer to your grocery list and you’ll also be able to pick up more than wine at the liquor store.

Jay Schalansky owns NOTO Wine & Spirits in Topeka.

Now that his store can add more products to their shelves, he’s already started to gear up for the change.

“We can sell cigarettes, food, pop and non-alcoholic mixers,” said Schalansky.

It’s all because of a bill lawmakers passed in 2017.

It allows convenience stores and grocery stores to sell beer with up to 6 percent of alcohol content per volume instead of the 3.2 percent beer they sell now.

In exchange, it also allows liquor stores to sell things like soda and cigarettes inside their store instead of a separate building.

Gary Haag is the owner of the Haag Express and was a big supporter of the bill.

“With the 3.2 beer in Kansas, it’s an after thought in our store,” said Haag. “I mean, we sell more candy bars, we sell more beef jerky for gosh sakes than we do beer.”

He thinks this change will help boost sales and make beer one of his stores top sellers.

“Beer is normally the number two item in c-stores,” said Haag. “In Kansas, it’s been number 10 or 11, so we look for it to really help our sales.”

While this may make convenience stores more of a competitor for liquor stores, Schalansky said it’s not a bad compromise.

“Everyone gained a little something and everyone lost a little something,” said Schalansky. “So, I think it will probably kind of be a trade off. It’s just going to be a lot of change.”

While gas stations will be able to sell beer that has up to 6 percent alcohol content, liquor stores are still able to sell things like craft beer that are over six percent.

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