In this Sept. 14, 2017 photo, Brandon Howard, a cofounder of Amalga Distillery, left, serves mixed drinks to Nick Thein and Terra Veler at the distillery’s tasting room at Franklin and Second Streets. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

In this Sept. 14, 2017 photo, Brandon Howard, a cofounder of Amalga Distillery, left, serves mixed drinks to Nick Thein and Terra Veler at the distillery’s tasting room at Franklin and Second Streets. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Legislature to take public testimony on distillery cocktails

The House Community and Regional Affairs Committee will hear public testimony at 10 a.m. Saturday about a proposal to allow distilleries to serve cocktails as part of their two-drink limit. The proposal is House Bill 269, sponsored by Rep. Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage.

As part of regulations passed last week by the Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, distilleries are no longer allowed to serve mixed drinks. They are allowed to provide mixers and alcohol, but buyers must mix the drinks themselves; distillery employees can’t mix drinks.

The regulation was a result of an ambiguous law passed by the Legislature in 2014. That law allowed distilleries to open tasting rooms that serve drinks to customers. Tasting rooms operate under strict limits, including a ban on entertainment and a two-drink maximum. Distilleries believed the language of that law allowed cocktails, but the Alaska Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office has a different interpretation that prohibits it.

The regulation approved last week by the board confirms AMCO’s interpretation.

HB 269 modifies the 2014 law to affirm that distilleries may serve cocktails. If approved by the community and regional affairs committee, it would advance to the House Labor and Commerce committee chaired by Rep. Sam Kito III, D-Juneau.

If approved in that committee, it would advance to the House floor and — if approved there — to the Senate.


• Contact reporter James Brooks at james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com or call 523-2258.


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