By Lucky Kidd, Ad Astra Radio
HUTCHINSON, Kan. – Reno County Commissioners directed staff Tuesday to draft a resolution to submit to voters a proposal to eliminate a 30 percent food sales requirement for liquor by the drink.
The decision came following a presentation from Sandhills Brewery owner Pippin Williamson, whose business was recently in jeopardy due to not meeting the food sales requirement. Over the past few weeks, there has been a major effort by residents to help get Sandhills above the 30 percent threshold, which looks to have been a success.
“I don’t believe that any business, be it my own, or any other that wishes to include a liquor license as part of their business strategy, should be required to go through this,” Williamson said.
LeAnn Cox of Visit Hutch told Commissioners the Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce supports putting the question to a vote, which was a major factor in one Commissioner voting to proceed.
The formal resolution putting the question on the ballot will come to the Commission in October. A vote would then be presented at an upcoming general election, whether in 2023 or 2024 is still not certain.
Currently, there are four mid-Kansas area counties, Barton, Rice, Saline, and Sedgwick, that do not have a 30 percent food sales requirement in place. That requirement does exist, however, in 63 of Kansas’s 105 counties. 39 have no food sales requirement and three in far western Kansas do not allow any liquor by the drink.