JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska's alcohol control board at its latest meeting did not take action on what qualifies as "entertainment" at a brewery or distillery, but it did vote to advance a proposal that would change the way the businesses serve cocktails.
The board on Monday voted to open public comment on a proposal that would ban employees from mixing cocktails, the Juneau Empire reported .
The proposal would still allow distilleries and breweries to serve mixers, but customers would have to mix the drinks themselves.
"I think that the proposed regulations create contrived inconveniences on our business," said Brandon Howard, one of the owners of Juneau's Amalga Distillery. "They seem shortsighted and out of touch with industry standards that we see with distillery tasting rooms down south."
The proposed regulations come from a gap in the 2014 legislation that allowed distilleries to open tasting rooms attached to their manufacturing plants. The 2014 bill failed to define "distillery's product" and it did not explicitly permit or deny distilleries to mix their product with fruit juice or syrup to create cocktails.
In a deadlocked 2-2 vote during its October meeting, the board failed to take action on the mixed drink issue, leaving the existing ambiguity in place.
As for hosting events at the businesses, the board was expected to take some action after Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office Director Erika McConnell sent out a memo calling for clarification. The memo stated that the businesses have events despite state law banning them from hosting various entertainments.
While the board took no action, Evan Wood of Devil's Club Brewing Company — a brewery scheduled to open in early 2018 — said the idea of board action was alarming.
"It's terrifying, and it sets a really scary precedent for anyone who's trying to make a business, because you don't know how laws will be interpreted from one year to the next," Wood said.
Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com