The Alaska Senate today unanimously passed a bill to allow breweries and distilleries more options for how they operate.
SB 52 would extend the time tasting rooms can be open from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m.; allow venues to host up to four live music concerts per year; and set more clear rules for fundraisers, brewery tours, and functions such as art shows.
“With a primary focus on public health and safety, SB 52 provides clarity for licensees, local governments, law enforcement and the public, and will result in the common-sense, consistent and less burdensome regulation of Alaska’s alcoholic beverage industry,” said Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, the bill’s sponsor and a long-time advocate for updating laws covering alcohol.
“SB 52 is the product of an eight-year, unprecedented collaboration of over 100 stakeholders from a diverse group of public health and safety entities, legislators, alcohol industry representatives, local governments, advocates for youth and the public who collectively volunteered over 13,000 hours and testified extensively to effectively improve the effort. It will modernize and reorganize the 35-year-old hodge-podge of Alaska’s alcohol laws into a comprehensive, effective Title 4 re-write.”
Resistance to the bill came from owners of beverage licenses, which cost sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars. Those bar and restaurant owners have for years been concerned about the unfair competition created by establishments that don’t have to have such a license.
Senate Bill 52 passed the Senate by a vote of 19-0 and is now on its way to the Alaska House of Representatives for consideration.