For those of you who have been keeping track, we here at Boot Hill Distillery have been beating the “Vote Yes in Ford County” drum pretty hard. For our fans who don’t live here in Ford County, Kansas – the county where Boot Hill Distillery is located currently has a law on the books that requires any business wanting to sell alcohol by the drink to have at least 30 percent of their revenue come from the sale of food.
(For a more in-depth look at the law, visit our post from last week.)
That means when people currently come to visit BHD they can get the tour, taste the samples of our spirits, and even purchase a bottle or two to take home with them. However, if we want to show our visitors how to mix with our spirits, or if we want to create a world-class cocktail for them, we’re unable to unless we install kitchen facilities or become a private club.
By voting “Yes” this Tuesday, November 8, you have the ability to have a positive impact on Ford County.
Five reasons to Raise a Glass – Vote Yes in Ford County
1) A Vote “Yes” Encourages New Business Growth
The way the current law is written doesn’t do much of anything when it comes to trying to reduce access to the consumption of alcohol. The 30 percent food requirement is a restriction on the business owner – not a limitation on how much the patron can consume.
By making it easier for bars to open and operate, we can encourage growth – particularly in the city centers of Ford County – by not forcing 10-day waiting periods on private clubs or requiring massive investments in kitchen facilities.
2) A Vote “Yes” Removes Unnecessary Restrictions on Current Business Owners
Closely related to the first point, several current business owners in Ford County who don’t have access to kitchen facilities have been forced to become private clubs. Becoming a private club (http://www.ksrevenue.org/pdf/clubact.pdf) allows owners to sell alcohol by the drink without the food requirement. However, private clubs must also charge an annual membership fee of no less than $10 and then patrons must wait 10 days from application before they can start attending the club.
This makes it impossible for travelers passing through town to attend any of the non-restaurant bars within Ford County unless they attend with a guest.
3) A Vote “Yes” Encourages Longer Stays from Tourists
Ford County’s liquor laws are some of the leftover remnants from our days of Prohibition. In the three months we’ve been open here at BHD, the vast majority of travelers who have passed through our doors have been surprised by two things: We couldn’t sell them a cocktail, and there weren’t any bars, simply bars in restaurants.
By voting “Yes” to remove the 30 percent food requirement, we are able to offer more reasons for visitors to stop, stay, and spend money here in Ford County.
4) A Vote “Yes” Improves Quality of Life
Brain drain has been one of the largest issues facing rural Kansas – especially here in Ford County. While we’ve seen some uptick in young, educated people moving back into the area it’s still notoriously difficult to attract new talent out this way.
What do Millennials look for in a future home? Quality of life. Things to do. Entertainment, arts and culture.
A vote “Yes” opens the door for a continued boost in Ford County’s culinary and cocktail arts, arts and culture, and live music venues.
5) A Vote “Yes” Positions Ford County as a Leader in Western Kansas
If you look at the current list of counties in Kansas that have removed their 30 percent rule, they are all located in metropolitan areas, micropolitan areas, or in college towns.
These are all places that have seen population and economic growth over the past decade. By voting “Yes” and opening the door to new business development and entertainment options, we continue to position Ford County as a destination location on the western Kansas plains.