Kentucky Association of Beverage Retailers is Newest ABL Affiliate

Bethesda, MD –  With more than 150 members and growing, the Kentucky Association of Beverage Retailers (KABR) is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in Kentucky and has now brought their clout at the national level by joining American Beverage Licensees (ABL) as an affiliate member.

Representing package stores both large and small, the recently-organized group advocates on behalf of independent beverage retailers in the Bluegrass State.

“We’re thrilled to have this eager and fast-growing association as part of ABL and strengthening ABL’s grassroots footprint,” said ABL Executive Director John Bodnovich. “The package store owners of Kentucky are developing an impressive state organization and now have ABL to stand up for them at the national level.”

KABR joins ABL’s other Kentucky affiliate, the Kentucky Licensed Beverage Association and their on-premise members. Thanks to a handful of motivated and politically-engaged retailers, momentum for an off-premise association took shape in 2010 and a spate of new issues made organizing a formal state trade association a necessity.

“We’ve had a lot of issues come up in Kentucky in the past five years that made us get organized,” said McLean. “Our biggest issue is the sale of wine in grocery stores.”

Kentucky beverage retailers have fought the issue for the past five years, successfully fending off attempts to allow wine sales in grocery stores. The past three years, big grocers have not been able to secure a sponsor to even have a bill filed. Aside from wine in grocery, KABR members are vigilant about other legislative issues – especially taxes.

“We continue to grow and our numbers are good,” said Brad McLean, KABR’s Executive Director. “We have a lot of the large stores and a lot of the mom ‘n pop stores. We have a lot of small communities in eastern and western Kentucky and a lot of stores are family-owned and operated, which make up a good portion of the KABR’s membership.”

With the development of KABR and its affiliate membership in ABL, one thing is certain: Kentucky’s package stores now have friends fighting for them in Frankfort and Washington, D.C.


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