Mistake invalidates ban on distilleries serving cocktails

  • Thursday, April 5, 2018 8:06pm
  • News

JUNEAU (AP) — Members of the Alaska Alcohol Beverage Control Board have been told that their January vote forbidding distilleries from serving alcoholic mixed drinks is invalid.

The vote has been deemed invalid due to a mistake made by a board member, the Juneau Empire reported Tuesday. That means the state’s distilleries can continue serving cocktails through at least the first half of this summer.

The Alaska Department of Law said public notice of the vote was improperly posted beforehand. Assistant Attorney General Harriet Milks said notice was given in the Anchorage Press, which doesn’t qualify under the Administrative Procedures Act.

“At least 30 days before the adoption, amendment, or repeal of a regulation, notice of the proposed action shall be published in the newspaper of general circulation or trade or industry publication that the state agency prescribes,” according to the act.

The board will not be able to re-vote until June at the earliest, and any decision barring mixed drinks may not be enforced until July or later.

The state must re-collect public testimony, prepare another vote and then resubmit the proposed regulation for review by the Department of Law and the office of Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott.

“It looks like we’re going to have to go through all of it again,” said Brandon Howard, one of the owners of Juneau’s Amalga Distillery and one of the people who opposed the board’s action.

Lawmakers approved a bill allowing distilleries to open tasting rooms attached to their manufacturing facilities in 2014.

That law states that distilleries “may sell not more than three ounces a day of the distillery’s product to a person for consumption on the premises,” but it does not define “a distillery’s product.”

Until late 2017, that wasn’t a problem. Distilleries operated under the assumption that cocktails were allowed by existing law, and because the issue was never brought to the state’s attention, it was never considered.

But in August, the state board received a complaint that Amalga was mixing its alcohol with vermouth, an alcoholic bitter, that it bought elsewhere. That kicked off a monthslong debate among board members about whether lawmakers intended to allow mixed drinks or not.

Distilleries across the state have made mixed drinks a staple of their tasting rooms, but holders of other alcohol licenses have said allowing distilleries to serve cocktails makes them too much like bars.

Members of the Legislature have introduced bills to define a distillery’s product and allow distilleries to serve cocktails, but those appear to be stalled in the legislative process, leaving the matter to the alcohol board.

More in News

Nate Rochon cleans fish after dipnetting in the Kasilof River, on June 25, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
King closures continue; Kasilof dipnet opens Saturday

The early-run Kenai River king sport fishery remains closed, and fishing for kings of any size is prohibited

An "Al Gross for Congress" sign sits near the driveway to Gross’ home in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, after he announced plans to withdraw from the U.S. House race. Gross has given little explanation in two statements for why he is ending his campaign, and a woman who answered the door at the Gross home asked a reporter to leave the property. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Alaska judge rules Sweeney won’t advance to special election

JUNEAU — A state court judge ruled Friday that Alaska elections officials… Continue reading

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion 
Soldotna City Manager Stephanie Queen listens to a presentation from Alaska Communications during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska.
ACS pilots fiber program in certain peninsula neighborhoods

The fiber to the home service will make available the fastest internet home speeds on the peninsula

Nurse Tracy Silta draws a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the walk-in clinic at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling Highways in Soldotna, Alaska on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. COVID-19 vaccines for kids younger than 5 years old are now approved by both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
COVID shots for kids under 5 available at public health

Roughly 18 million kids nationwide will now be eligible to get their COVID vaccines.

Megan Mitchell, left, and Nick McCoy protest the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning of Roe v. Wade at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling highways on Friday, June 24, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Heartbroken’, ‘Betrayed’: Alaskans react to Roe decision

Supreme Court decision ends nearly 50 years of legally protected access to abortion

Demonstrators gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years, a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the court’s landmark abortion cases. (AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana)
Alaskans react to Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion.

Tara Sweeney, a Republican seeking the sole U.S. House seat in Alaska, speaks during a forum for candidates, May 12, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/ Mark Thiessen)
Lawsuit says Sweeney should advance in Alaska US House race

The lawsuit says the fifth-place finisher in the special primary, Republican Tara Sweeney, should be put on the August special election ballot

Gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker stands in the Peninsula Clarion office on Friday, May 6, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska AFL-CIO endorses Walker, Murkowski, Peltola

The AFL-CIO is Alaska’s largest labor organization and has historically been one of its most powerful political groups

A portion of a draft letter from Jeffrey Clark is displayed as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Federal agents search Trump-era official’s home, subpoena GOP leaders

Authorities on Wednesday searched the Virginia home of Jeffrey Clark

Most Read