October 21, 2014

Happy hour now in session in Kansas as a result of new legislation

Stephanie McNelly, a server at Tumbleweed Bar and Grill, cleans a counter in front of a sign advertising Happy Hour specials. On July 1, Kansas law changed allowing bars and restaurants to offer drink specials during specific times. Staff photo by Danedri Thompson

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
Happy hour is here in Kansas as of July 1.
As of Sunday, bars and restaurants could offer happy hour drink specials, thanks to a new law passed by the Kansas Legislature last session. It became official on July 1, and local establishments were quick to offer specials.
“Happy hour started back up in Kansas today,” a post on the Tumbleweed’s Facebook page announced. “Come see what’s on special today from 2 to 4. Cold drinks for sure!”
As it stood on June 30, the law allowed bars and restaurants to offer all day drink specials, but happy hour drinks, where libations were discounted between specific times, were prohibited. Under the new law, bars and restaurants can now offer discounted drink prices at any time or to specific groups – such as “ladies night” specials.
Uncork Kansas, a lobbying organization that advocated for the changes, called the legislative action a step in the right direction when the law was approved back in May. Additionally, the group lobbied for laws that will also allow liquor stores and manufacturers to offer free taste tests in their businesses. There is no limit to sample sizes or the number of samples that can be offered, however they must be consumed in the stores.
Another new liquor law that took effect on July 1 created a micro-distillery license that allows individuals to manufacture and store up to 50,000 gallons of spirits a year, and allows railway cars to be licensed as drinking establishments.
The lobbying organization said in a statement last May that they intend to lobby for looser liquor laws in Kansas.
“Uncork Kansas will continue our efforts to give Kansas consumers what they want…the ability to choose where they purchase their adult beverages. We appreciate a statement from Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, who talked about the importance of the government staying out of issues that restrict business,” a press release from the organization reads. “Brownback said he intends to send the clear message that Kansas will not accept unnecessary government burdens on the free market. We support Brownback in his pursuit to remove barriers to entry and unnecessary bureaucracy from all Kansas business and hope Kansas legislatures absorb that message when considering the Uncork Kansas bill.”

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