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Monday, May 28, 2018
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Naked self-dealing of Adam Wool’s bar fight

CUTTING THE LEGS OUT FROM UNDER CRAFT TASTING ROOMS

BY ANDREW JENSEN
ALASKA JOURNAL OF COMMERCE

Chronicling political hypocrisy is typically no more difficult than shooting the idiomatic fish in a barrel.

Hawkins

And sometimes the fish jump in front of the bullets.

Such is the case with the 11th-hour hijacking of a bill to update Alaska’s alcoholic beverage regulations known as Title 4.

In the works for six years to develop points of consensus among stakeholders, Senate Bill 76 was sent to the House in a unanimous vote on April 30.

Less than a week later, a former bar owner, Rep. Louise Stutes of Kodiak, and a current bar owner, Rep. Adam Wool of Fairbanks, were aided in passing an amendment aimed at cutting a leg out from under popular craft tasting rooms by the reliably anti-business Rep. Andy Josephson of Anchorage and the reliably unremarkable Rep. Gary Knopp of Kenai.

Rep. Adam Wool

A parade of bar owners testified on May 2 to the House Labor and Finance Committee with their complaints about the success of craft beer and spirit tasting rooms.

Despite having very limited hours to serve no more than 36 ounces of beer or 3 ounces of spirits to a single customer, and prohibited from offering any entertainment such as televisions, live music or even a pool table, these craft tasting rooms have apparently unlocked the secret to success: offering a product people want in an atmosphere they enjoy.

To hear the bar owners tell it, though, these crafty craft room owners are simply succeeding because they have the unfair advantage of not paying upward of $250,000 for a beverage dispensary license.

These sneaky entrepreneurs have apparently discovered a loophole in the system whereby they can pay $3,000 for a brewery license to sell those three beers per day per customer after investing a half-million dollars or more in tanks, equipment, ingredients, payroll, construction and transportation costs.

Were it not for the real world implications of such a transparent effort to pinch the profitability of another part of the industry he inhabits, Wool’s naked self-dealing would be laugh-out-loud comedy.

[Read the rest of this editorial at Alaska Journal of Commerce]

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Something similar to this happened when Spring Creek Correction had to stop making furniture for state of Alaska offices because a legislator or a good friend and donor to a legislator had a furniture manufacturing business.

  • This is just protectionism; naked self-interest as reported. Maybe Mr. Wool’s fortunes would improve if he developed a more inviting business environment and served better products? I think he is envious, that is all.

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