Politics & Government

Wichita makes changes to local liquor laws

Wichita City Council approved changes Tuesday to the city’s alcoholic beverages ordinance. Most of the changes are to align local laws with state laws.
Wichita City Council approved changes Tuesday to the city’s alcoholic beverages ordinance. Most of the changes are to align local laws with state laws. File photo

If you buy, sell or consume alcohol in Wichita, you’ll want to understand the new changes to the city’s alcoholic beverages ordinance.

Most of the changes are to align local laws with state laws. The Wichita City Council unanimously approved the changes at its meeting Tuesday.

Here are some of the key points:

▪ Samples can be offered at most venues selling liquor. This was allowed under state law, but not addressed in local law.

▪ You can provide free liquor and cereal malt beverages at charitable events, political events and events supporting the arts.

▪ Businesses will have two-year licensing for liquor sales, which aligns with state licensing requirements.

▪ Rules about alcohol consumption at parks won’t change. Events held there will still be required to get licenses.

▪ Possession of an open container and not just consumption of liquor in public is now a violation. This is to help with enforcement so police don’t have to wait until someone in public actually takes a drink of alcohol, said city attorney Jennifer Magana.

▪ Guests at private events are defined by law as people who receive personal invitations. Someone paying is not a “guest.”

Defining who is a guest at a private event can help police with enforcement of “after hours” parties, Magana said. For example, that could include a house party where people are charged a cover for alcohol, which is illegal.

City staff in the law, police, finance, zoning and fire departments have reviewed the ordinance changes for the past two years.

Kelsey Ryan: 316-269-6752, @kelsey_ryan

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