Pete Dulin got some teasing about the research he conducted in eastern Kansas and western Missouri for his new book Expedition of Thirst. He does admit it was a real pleasure to work on his travel guide focused on regional breweries and wineries.
On April 1, 2019, Kansas law changed to allow grocery and convenience stores to sell strong beer. The new law lifted a restriction that dated from the time of Prohibition, according to Dulin. Dulin went on to explain that in the 1880’s, before Prohibition, Kansas was the number one producter of beer and wine in the United States. Then, ironically, forty years prior to federal Prohibition, Kansas became the first state to enact a statewide rule against alcohol.
Today, craft beer has rebounded to have a $480 million impact in the Kansas economy, ranking the state 43rd in the production of craft beer in United States according to the Brewers Association 2017 statistics. Still, Missouri craft beer production is six time that of Kansas and generates twice the revenue.
Many small breweries start as a “food pub,” brewing beer to serve with food for local customers. Those breweries may sell their beers from the taproom, but to expand their distribution, they must find a distributor to reach retailers as required by state law.