The distillery of the Kenai River Brewing Company in Soldotna, Alaska, is seen in April 2018. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

The distillery of the Kenai River Brewing Company in Soldotna, Alaska, is seen in April 2018. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

Clarified alcohol regs could curb fundraisers, community events in local breweries

The proposed regulations wouldn’t allow the Brewery to Bathroom 0.5K Relay for Life benefit run.

Proposed changes from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board could halt state breweries and distilleries from hosting First Friday events, fundraisers, beer dinners and other community gatherings.

Under current state statute, local breweries and distilleries with manufacturing licenses are barred from allowing onsite live entertainment, TVs, pool tables, darts, dancing, video games, game table or “other recreational or gaming opportunities.”

The board is now seeking to clarify what “entertainment” and “other recreational opportunities” mean, according to a July 9 memo from Director of the state Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office Erika McConnell.

“The board directed staff to strengthen the language to better reflect the legislative intent that these licenses are manufacturers, not retailers,” the memo read.

A revised proposal from the board aims to define entertainment and other recreational opportunities as festivals, games and competitions, classes, public parties, presentations or performances and other types of organized social gatherings that are advertised to the general public.

Bill Howell, author of “Alaska Beer: Liquid Gold in the Land of the Midnight Sun” and a professor at the Kenai Peninsula College, said he sees the proposed regulations as more government overreach. Howell said other states, like Maine, find ways to promote their local breweries and distilleries. He said in Alaska the state finds ways to reign in their locally made beer and liquor industry.

“Brewery taprooms serve as a very important community need,” Howell said. “These are good members of the community trying to do positive things for the community.”

Under current regulations for manufacturing licensees, Howell said he wouldn’t be allowed to host a book signing event at the brewery.

The proposed regulations wouldn’t have allowed for the Kenai River Brewing Company to host their August Brewery to Bathroom 0.5K run, benefiting Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society.

Doug Hogue, owner of the Kenai River Brewing Company, said he also sees the proposed regulations as additional government overreach.

“The restrictions will essentially shut down what we do for the community,” Hogue said. “Charity runs we do, events we do for numerous nonprofits — it’s a pretty poor decision by the AMCO board.”

Hogue said residents should contact the Alcohol Beverage Control Board and their local representatives to raise their concerns.

Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Kenai/Soldotna, said he’s working on getting in touch with board members and staff at the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office to better understand the objectives with the proposed clarifications. Micciche said he would support breweries and distilleries.

“Breweries and distilleries are already adequately restricted and in some cases too restricted,” Micciche said. “I’m not interested in more restrictions.”

The proposed change is open to public comment through 4:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4. Residents can email the board at to submit comments.

More in News

Voters fill out their ballots at the Challenger Learning Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Election 2023: When, where to vote Tuesday

City council, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, the local school board races are all on the ballot

Dianne MacRae, Debbie Cary, Beverley Romanin and Kelley Cizek participate in a Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education candidate forum at Soldotna Public Library in Soldotna, Alaska, on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
School board candidates wrap up forum series

The forum was the eighth in a series hosted by the Clarion and KDLL ahead of the 2023 elections

Signs direct visitors at the City of Seward’s city hall annex on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Seward, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Electric sale referendums to be reconsidered next month

The two referendums aim to remove from the city’s Oct. 3 ballot two propositions related to the sale of the city’s electric utility

Sockeye salmon caught in a set gillnet are dragged up onto the beach at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Board of Fish proposals center on king salmon, east side setnet fishery

Many proposals describe changes to the Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Management Plan

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Senior Prom King and Queen Dennis Borbon and Lorraine Ashcraft are crowned at the 2023 High Roller Senior Prom at Aspen Creek Senior Living in Kenai, Alaska, on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023.
Senior prom crowns king and queen

In brainstorming options, the concept of putting on a prom turned some heads

A photo distributed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows a man who allegedly robbed the Global Credit Union branch located in Anchorage, Sept. 19, 2023. Tyler Ching, 34, was arrested last week on charges related to robberies at the credit union and an Anchorage bank. (Photo courtesy Federal Bureau of Investigation)
Alleged bank robber arrested in Cooper Landing

An Anchorage resident was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in… Continue reading

A seal rescued earlier this summer by the Alaska SeaLife Center awaits release on the North Kenai Beach in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
2nd harbor seal release draws large crowds

The seals were Pierogi, Pringle and Belle de Fontenay

Attendees search the waters of the Kenai River for sightings of Cook Inlet belugas during Belugas Count! at the Kenai Bluff Overlook in Kenai, Alaska on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Belugas Count! celebrated in Kenai

At a viewing station on Kenai’s bluff overlook, dozens gathered and peered out over the Kenai River during a morning session

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Finance Director Elizabeth Hayes, left, gives a presentation on the school district’s FY23 budget at Soldotna High School on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. Hayes during the KPBSD Board of Education’s Sept. 11, 2023, meetings, debuted first of an informational “Budget 101 Series.” (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
School district warns of looming $13 million deficit in first ‘Budget 101’ presentation

The first installment explored Alaska’s foundation formula

Most Read