111 West 2nd Ave, Hutchinson, KS
5612 Johnson Drive, Mission, KS

Vote Yes

Revoke the 30% food rule in Reno County

In September 2022, Sandhills Brewing in Hutchinson was nearly forced to close its doors permanently. That happened because of an antiquated Kansas law commonly referred to as The Food Rule.

Now this year, on November 7, 2023, Reno County voters have the opportunity to ensure that type of event never happens again to a valued local business.

To support small and local businesses, we urge you to vote YES on or before November 7, 2023.

The Ballot Question

On your ballot will be the following question: “Shall sale of alcoholic liquor by the individual drink in Reno County be allowed in public places without a requirement that any portion of their gross receipts be from sales of food?

To revoke the food rule and make Reno county more hospitable to small and local businesses, we must vote YES.

What is the Food Rule

When prohibition ended in Kansas, each county was required to choose if it wanted to be a dry county (businesses can sell no alcohol of any kind), a wet county (businesses can sell alcohol without any restriction), or they could adopt what’s known as the 30% rule.

Reno County was one of the places that went the 30% route, meaning the current law in Reno County requires any establishment that sells individual alcoholic drinks, whether its beer, wine or cocktails, show that 30% of their revenue be from the sale of food.

On face value, this does not appear too consequential, but in reality it’s a severely damaging law that stifles entrepreneurship and adds overly burdensome operating and regulatory requirements to businesses.

The law dictates that any business that wishes to hold a license to sell individual alcoholic drinks by the glass must also sale food, and that the sale of food must be equal to or greater than 30% of the total sales of the business. So for example, if a business sales $100,000 of alcohol and food combined, at minimum $30,000 of those sales must be derived from food.

For food-first establishments, such as restaurants, this is not a problem as the bulk of their sales are from food. But for many other types of businesses, this law makes it nearly impossible for them to hold and retain a liquor license.

There are many, many affected businesses and this law impacts more than just microbreweries, bars, and taverns. Golf courses, art studios and craft rooms, theaters, bingo parlors, and many more are also negatively impacted by the 30% food rule. It applies to every business that includes a liquor license in their business model. It is also a blocker to many potential new businesses choosing to invest and open in Reno county.

The consequence for not meeting 30% food sales is the revocation of the business’s liquor license. There is no fine nor fee nor any recourse at all, though this was not known until late last year when Sandhills Brewing faced a crisis that nearly closed us down.

Food Sales Crisis, September 2022

In September, 2022, we saw exactly what can happen as a result of this antiquated law.

While renewing our liquor license, the state of Kansas denied our application due to not being in compliance with the 30% food rule law.

The rejection of our license application spawned a Hail Mary plan that ultimately saved Sandhills Brewing in Hutchinson from imminent closure when the community of Hutchinson and across the state of Kansas came together to buy over $40,000 worth of food in just five days.

The entire saga can be read about here. It was a whirlwind week that beautifully illustrated what is possible when a community comes together to support something they believe in, and it brought into public view the potential damage caused by antiquated laws.

Spread the Word

To ensure we are successful in revoking the 30% food rule, we need as much help as we can get. Please encourage all friends and family to go out and vote YES on or before November 7, 2023.

If you live in Reno county and need to register to vote, you can do that at KSVotes.org. It’s free and only takes a minute!

Watch our social media channels for news and events related to the food rule vote. We will be hosting numerous Q&As and information sessions throughout the coming months leading up to the election.

Scroll to top