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Proposed rule would further limit events at Alaska breweries and distilleries

JUNEAU - An Alaska regulation agency has proposed changes that would limit activities at breweries and distilleries, officials said.

The Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has proposed modifications to a state statute that would further prohibit onsite activities at alcohol manufacturing businesses, the Juneau Empire reported Tuesday.

The regulation includes prohibiting breweries and distilleries from allowing festivals, games and competitions, classes, public parties, presentations or performances and other social gatherings advertised to the general public, officials said.

The changes would "better reflect the legislative intent that these licenses are manufacturers, not retailers," Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office Director Erika McConnell said.

The regulation currently prohibits onsite live entertainment, TVs, pool tables, darts, dancing, video games, game table or "other recreational or gaming opportunities," officials said.

“The reason we started this, and it was written into our business plan, is we wanted to create a new social gathering place for the community that we grew up in, and that would clearly just cease to happen,” said Evan Wood, co-owner of Devil’s Club Brewing Co. in Juneau.

The changes would include banning First Friday art galleries and fundraisers from the brewery's calendar, Woods said.

A downtown tasting room has been used to raise funds for hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico and friends in need of support during a health crisis, said Brandon Howard, co-founder of Amalga Distillery.

There are some who agree with the proposal.

"It's just providing clarification for things that have already been happening for a long time," said Jared Cure, owner of The Narrows Bar. Under state statute, manufacturers aren't supposed to draw a sizable portion of revenue from events or selling beverages to individuals.

A regulation draft was discussed in June 2018, and the change being considered is a revised proposal, officials said. Public comment is open through Oct. 4.

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