Alcohol office recommends state fair lose liquor license

Alcohol regulators will consider a recommendation to reject the renewal of the Alaska State Fair’s liquor license — a move that fair officials said would be “devastating” and could lead to higher ticket prices.

The state Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office made the recommendation, aiming to crack down on longtime recreational site licenses that might not be used as intended under state law, the Anchorage Daily News reported this week.

The fair would need to “greatly increase” admission prices if it loses its ability to sell beer and wine, said Stephen Brown, president of the fair board.

In the past, legislative auditors have faulted the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board for issuing recreational site licenses to events like the fair. Under state law, recreational site licenses allow beer and wine to be served at locations that host “baseball games, car races, hockey games, dog sled racing events, or curling matches.”

The board has previously stretched the legal definition to grant licenses for ski areas. The fair has held a recreational site license since 1981.

The board approved a recreational site license renewal for Arctic Valley Ski Area in August, going against the recommendation of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office. Two months later, the board voted against a recreational site license for Eaglecrest Ski Area.

The board has delayed consideration of the fair’s liquor license until February.

While discussing the fair’s license this week, board chairman Bob Klein suggested the state Legislature might need an incentive because it has been reluctant to fix problematic alcohol legislation.

“There is some merit in holding this license hostage,” Klein said.


Information from: Anchorage Daily News,

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