Strong beer could mean weak sales for liquor stores

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

You'll soon be able to buy full strength beer in Kansas grocery stores . Governor Brownback signed a law today allowing grocery and convenience stores to sell beer with 6% alcohol. starting in July of 2019. Margaret Harshfield, who owns Maggie's on Meridian, says this bill could be the beginning of the end. 

"I don't know if i can make it or not," said Harshfield.

Lawmakers have debated the issue for years. Some said they were concerned large grocery chains would put independent liquor stores out of business.  

"The grocery stores will sell it for a penny over cost," explained Harshfield. "When their wife goes to the grocery store to buy the weekly groceries, I'm going to lose that beer."

Grocery and liquor stores say they found a compromise, but Harshfield says its because breweries may stop making 3.2% beer

"There is danger of the breweries not producing 3.2% beer because there is such a limited number of states that sell 3.2%" said Harshfield.

In exchange, liquor stores will be able to sell more non-alcoholic products including mixers, lottery tickets and tobacco products.

"The grocery stores like to say that they are leveling the playing field, but we're not.  We are just allowing them take over our business."

Harshfield says beer makes up 55% of her sales and with seven employees. She is worried that this change could lead to her letting people go.

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