Don and Sherry Stead.

Don and Sherry Stead.

Point of View: Beverage board doesn’t need clarity on brewery activities

The State of Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board is proposing clarification to the regulations governing Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries.

The ABC’s duties are to adopt regulations governing the manufacture, barter, sale, consumption, and possession of alcoholic beverages with regulations that are necessary to carry out the purpose of this title in a manner that will protect the public health, safety, and welfare.

The current statutes limit the amount of alcohol that can be consumed on premises, off premise and our hours of operation. Currently breweries may sell not more than 36 ounces a day of the brewery’s product to a person for consumption on premise if:

A) It does not allow live entertainment, TV’s, pool tables, dart games, dancing, electronic or other games, game tables or other recreational or gaming opportunities on the premises where the consumption occurs. The proposed changes defines other recreational or gaming opportunities to include: 1) festivals, 2) games and competitions, 3) classes, 4) parties, 5) presentations or performances, and 6) other types of organized social gatherings that are advertised to the general public.

The added clarity will include First Friday events, any fundraising events and all social gatherings. This prohibits breweries, wineries and distilleries from being a community space and to participate in community events.

Currently all establishments selling alcohol have regulations.

We all are limited by the amount of permits allowed by population. We all have similar biennial fees.

Breweries, wineries and distilleries have additional strict consumption amounts. Breweries, wineries and distilleries have additional restrictions on hours of operation. Breweries, wineries and distilleries have additional restrictions on what we can serve (only made on premise).

Breweries, wineries and distilleries have additional restrictions on our tap room activities.

Now it is proposed for clarification of our restrictions to not allow us to be part of our community. The ABC Board has written these clarifications and is accepting comments, and then they will make their decision on how the regulations will be interpreted. I think if the legislature made these licensing regulations they should be a part of defining what they mean. As it stands, once the ABC Board makes their decision it becomes enforceable.

I do not see how these clarifications are necessary to carry out the purpose of the ABC Board’s duties to protect the public health, safety, and welfare of our state.

Comments are being accepted thru Oct. 4; email to amco.regs@alaska.gov.

Sherry Stead is a partner with her husband Don in Grace Ridge Brewing Inc., one of two Homer breweries.

Sherry Stead

Sherry Stead

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