SB 76, the alcohol law rewrite would fix a system that is broken. The laws are hard to understand for brewery owners, ABC board, AMCO staff and most importantly the public.
SB 76, is a comprehensive fix that comes after five years of work among many stakeholders; mental health and addiction services, city government, public safety, breweries, cideries, wineries, and distilleries.
This bill offers up new opportunities for our Alaska breweries and the craft industry as a whole. It also allows for new businesses types to be easily added to the alcohol licensing law in the future.
With this change, all sectors of our industry will see responsible growth and new opportunities to deliver our product and the AK craft experience to our friends, neighbors, and fans.
In a recent memo to the ABC board, AMCO staff suggested that current practices in AK craft tasting rooms are not acceptable and should be severely restricted. This would effectively stifle industry growth and have a chilling effect on current tasting room activities that AK craft beer fans enjoy. The board chose to pursue a regulatory project that would decide how "entertainment" is defined and what we are allowed to do. Say goodbye to fun in tasting rooms if the AMCO staff stick by their recommendation and the ABC board adopts it.
An effort by the Anchorage Municipal Assembly to increase the local tax on AK craft beer was defeated. The proposal would have immediately imposed up to a 5% increase with a maximum 10% after a few years. As the largest market in Alaska, this change would affect all craft breweries in the state. Although it was defeated, there are members of the assembly who will continue to push for this. We must remain vigilant.