More on the 3.2

It always warms my heart to read "economic freedom is generally a pretty good idea" as I did in Dan's post this morning about KS SB 54 which will allow wine, liquor and full strength beer to be sold in convenience and grocery stores. Unfortunately, even with the caveat "economic freedom is generally a pretty good idea", Dan still couldn't give his support to the bill. But, he makes some good points which I will try to dissect.
But that’s where reality steps in. In reality, liquor stores are some of the classic mom-and-pop small businesses that stand little chance of surviving when mega-corporations step in. In reality, that laid-back store you visit with the bell that tinkles when you open the door will get squeezed out by a corporate convenience store domiciled in Delaware pushing cardboard boxes of Natty Light along with a taquito, served up by minimum-wage servants while the profits go to international bank accounts. Reality is a lot uglier than theory.
This bill, without a doubt, will have an effect on mom and pop stores, everyone concedes this. But, "economic freedom is generally a pretty good idea" and these mom and pop stores only exist because of the economic restriction. This bill doesn't only allow the grocery store to sell liquor, it also allows the liquor store to sell snacks, mixers, fruit etc. Everyone is on a level playing field. It's not as if Missouri doesn't have little liquor stores, they do. These stores just have to figure out a way to compete, either through a good location, good service, good selection, whatever. Without a doubt, some will not survive, but owning a business is a risk and if your business can't compete, it's best for consumers for it to fail.

Also, the law set the stage for these mom and pop businesses to thrive. It's a shame that someone will lose a rather large investment taking advantage of the incongruity in licensing. But, their existence is not a reason to not fix the law. If we got rid of the tax code and went to a flat tax or consumption tax, the existence and ultimate failure of H&R Block should not be an argument against changing the tax code. If we reduce military spending, the firms that would go out of business because their goods are no longer needed should not be considered because reducing military spending is the goal, not the survival of military suppliers.
I care about craft beer, not mega-brands, and that’s where things get tough to figure. In Colorado, they’ve been fighting this battle for years, and the craft brewers have lined up on the side of the status quo. Micro-breweries don’t get deals with Quik Trip or 7-11 – they get deals with the mom and pop store that is responsive to the local community. The big grocery store chains and convenience store chains aren’t going to carry their products – especially not the nano-brewery that can only crank out a few hundred barrels a year. Small stores are better for small brewers. Think small.
Again, this is an argument I could get behind, but it also kind of negates Dan's first concern. The big grocery chains aren't good at beer retailing. And they really have no incentive to be. 90% of their sales are going to be the BMC triumvirate so that's what they will focus on. True, liquor and wine sales will take place at the grocery and that will undoubtedly hurt the little guys. But, they can make up for those losses by increasing their craft beer presence and offering expertise in that area. Or they can increase their wine section, focusing on smaller, high rated brands. Liquor stores could become the quality provider of alcoholic beverages. There's money to be made offering premium products.

Craft beer distributers and manufacturers will see a little bit of consolidation in their sales efforts, many stores will go away, many will merge, there will be less of them. They can focus their efforts a little better and maybe even get an exclusive with a large state retailer, "Price Chopper, your exclusive provider of Odell".  I don't know, anything can happen in the free market. The laws shouldn't exist to favor one industry over another, it should be a level playing field "economic freedom is generally a pretty good idea".

Lastly, this isn't covered in Dan's post or in my previous post, buying beer and wine at the grocery store is anathema to a Kansan. Being a lifetime Kansan, I don't think I've ever bought beer in a grocery store. It would take a while to get over that, let alone buying my Glenlivet or Maker's Mark at the grocery. Smaller retailers can take advantage of this time retooling for their new competition. Shielding mom and pop stores from competition only benefits those mom and pop stores. SB 54 will benefit consumers because "economic freedom is generally a pretty good idea". 

I'm sure your elected KS state senator or representative would love to hear your thoughts on this issue, you can find the contact information for your elected congressperson here. Drop them a line and tell them your thoughts.

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