News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Senator Micciche
For Immediate Release: February 26, 2020

Alaska Senate Approves Update of Alcohol Industry Rules

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JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate today unanimously passed a bill to modernize laws that govern Alaska’s alcohol industry.

“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 Senator Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, the bill’s sponsor. “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.”

Stakeholders established shared goals as the foundation for developing recommendations and those objectives resulted in the following:

  • Promoting a fair business climate and protecting public health and safety;
  • Creating rational regulation for all tiers of the state’s alcohol industry;
  • Expanding local control options for municipalities;
  • Holding offenders and non-compliant operators accountable;
  • Limiting youth access to alcohol;
  • Promoting responsible alcohol use and reducing the harms of overconsumption; and
  • Avoiding negative impacts on businesses and responsible operators.

After years of impasse, stakeholders recently agreed to a “grand compromise” in a few key areas: The bill reduces restrictions on breweries by extending the time tasting rooms can be open from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m.; it expands lawful activities by allowing venues to host up to four live music concerts per year; and it sets clear rules in place for fundraisers, brewery tours and art shows in statute, not in in regulation where they were subject to uncertainty.   

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.

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