Senators on Monday endorsed a bundle of alcohol-related measures that would allow for self-serve beer, liquor-infused candy and the sale of take-home growlers at microbreweries.
Also under the legislation, establishments may sell drinks three hours earlier, starting at 6 a.m. For small operations, those hours would apply to Sunday sales that otherwise start at noon.
The bundle is of particular interest for development in downtown Topeka, where the winner of the Top Tank entrepreneur competition is counting on self-serve taps as part of the business model. The Brew Bank received $100,000 as the top winner.
Lobbyists for the Topeka business community said the reform would lead to job growth and attract millennials.
“Clearly, our business community has kind of rallied behind that,” said Rep. Fred Patton, R-Topeka. “I think it’s something important that we should promote. So I’m glad that we’re going to have an opportunity to vote on it.”
Patton said he was optimistic the House will concur with the liquor package, which the Senate passed by a vote of 34-4.
The bill would allow for public venues, clubs and drinking establishments to provide beer from automated devices. Current law already allows for self-serve wine. Vendors are required to provide constant video monitoring, maintain recordings for 60 days and provide the video to law enforcement.
In a meeting of Democratic senators, Marci Francisco, of Lawrence, said she has heard concerns about expanding the hours when alcohol can be sold. She said there are concerns that football fans may start drinking earlier.
Sen. Tom Hawk, D-Manhattan, jokingly suggested the change could help turnout for University of Kansas football games, with attendance improving from 1,000 to 1,200 fans.