Breweries on the Kenai Peninsula are free to host fundraisers and other events after the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board decided to not further define current regulation.
Under current state statute, local breweries and distilleries with manufacturing licenses are barred from allowing on-site live entertainment, TVs, pool tables, darts, dancing, video games, game table or “other recreational or gaming opportunities.”
The proposed clarification — voted down Tuesday — would have defined “entertainment” and “other recreational opportunities” to include festivals, games and competitions, classes, public parties, presentations or performances and other types of organized social gatherings that are advertised to the general public, according to a July 9 memo from the then-director of the state Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office Erika McConnell.
Doug Hogue, owner of Kenai River Brewing Company, said he was pleased to see the board reject the proposal to clarify the definitions.
“We’re super happy the board decided to not go with the changes,” Hogue said. “Obviously it would have been devastating for all the breweries in Alaska if (that clarification) went through.”
The proposed regulations wouldn’t have allowed for Kenai River Brewing Company to host their August Brewery to Bathroom 0.5K run, benefiting Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society, or special events such as the recent beer-pairing dinner.
Hogue said the next hurdle for breweries is to urge the Legislature to pass SB 52, which is sponsored by Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Kenai/Soldotna.
The bill, which could be addressed in the next session in January, modernizes statute governing the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, a sponsor statement from Micciche’s office says.
“The bill allows the board to function more efficiently as they regulate the alcohol industry in a manner that promotes public safety and health, while supporting the alcohol industry’s continued growth and viability in today’s current climate,” the sponsor statement said.