A protest against the proposed regulations by Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board decorate the walls of the during First Friday on Oct. 4, 2019. They weren’t the only ones to share an opinion. During a public comment period, 1,274 pages of comments were submitted. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

A protest against the proposed regulations by Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board decorate the walls of the during First Friday on Oct. 4, 2019. They weren’t the only ones to share an opinion. During a public comment period, 1,274 pages of comments were submitted. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Alaskans weigh in on polarizing proposed change to breweries, distilleries

Proposed regulation change to limit activities in breweries and distilleries draws 1,274 pages of comments

People had a lot to say about a controversial definition change that could limit events held at breweries, wineries and distilleries in Alaska.

A total of 1,274 pages of comments were collected regarding a proposed new definition that could prohibit festivals, games, competitions, classes, parties, presentations, performances and other types of organized social gatherings at breweries, wineries and distilleries, according to statements attributed to Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office Executive Director Erika McConnell.

[Brewers and Distillers speak out against proposed regulation change]

McConnell said through special assistant to the commissioner Glenn Hoskinson that the number of pages is not the exact number of comments, and comments, which were submitted between late August and Oct. 4., are still being counted.

Hoskinson said in an email the number of comments received was above average.

The definition change being mulled over by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has been controversial and polarizing with proponents and detractors in Juneau and throughout the state.

The schism is over whether business practices that thrive under the current law should be able to do so.

Currently, those with manufacturing licenses aren’t allowed to have live entertainment, televisions, pool tables, dart games, dancing, electronic or other games or game tables, or “other recreational or gaming opportunities.”

That wording is why breweries and distilleries have been able to host First Friday events and fundraisers. A more stringent definition would end that, which is what has drawn manufacturers’ ire.

On the other hand, proponents of the change — many of whom are bar or liquor store owners — see it as stopping an over-reach by manufacturers and closing an unintended loophole.

[Legislator seeks ceasefire in bar wars]

Exactly how many of the thousands of pages of comments were for or against the potential new definition is not yet known. However, the comments will be public within the next few weeks. They will be on the AMCO website as part of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board’s meeting packet prior to the board’s Nov. 12 meeting.

The regulation and the comments will be discussed at that meeting.

• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

More in News

Even as coronavirus numbers are going down and vaccines are being distributed, pandemic-related facilities like the testing site at Juneau International Airport, seen here in this Oct. 12 file photo, are scheduled to remain for some time, according to city health officials. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file)
Vaccines are coming, but pandemic facilities will remain

Testing sites and other COVID-19 operations will continue, officials say, but infections are trending down.

After violent protesters loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol today, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, left, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., join other senators as they return to the House chamber to continue the joint session of the House and Senate and count the Electoral College votes cast in November's election, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Murkowski on impeachment: ‘I will listen carefully’ to both sides

As for timing, the senator said, “our priority this week must be to ensure safety in Washington, D.C.”

Has it always been a police car. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Police calls for Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Juneau City Hall. The City and Borough of Juneau has distributed nearly $5 million in household and individual assistance grants since October. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
All housing and most personal assistance grants processed

About $5 million in aid is flowing to households and individuals in Juneau.

A child plays at Capital School Park. The park is in line for a remodel that will fix the crumbling retaining wall, visible in the background. (Dana Zigmund / Juneau Empire)
A new life is in store for Capital School Park

Public input is helping craft a vision for the park’s voter-approved facelift.

White House, tribes joined to deliver Alaska Native vaccines

The initiative has treated Indigenous tribes as sovereign governments and set aside special vaccine shipments.

Expected heavy snow and high winds Thursday evening prompted Alaska’s Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to issue a warning of increased avalanche hazard along Thane Road. (File photo)
Avalanche risk increasing along Thane Road

Be careful and plan for the possibility of an extended road closure.

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. On Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, the top U.S. public health agency said that coronavirus can spread greater distances through the air than 6 feet, particularly in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces. But agency officials continued to say such spread is uncommon, and current social distancing guidelines still make sense. (NIAID-RML via AP)
COVID at a glance for Friday, Jan. 8

The most recent state and local numbers.

Most Read