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Tuck Celebrates Distillery Bill Signed Into Law

HB 309 Boosts New All-Alaskan Industry

Representative Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage, and House Democratic Leader) joined the Distillers Guild of Alaska yesterday to celebrate the passage of his House Bill 309.  The measure allows Alaska’s small-scale distillers to host on-premises tours, offer tastings of their products, and engage in limited direct sales, as do Alaska’s breweries and wineries. A press conference and reception celebrating the bill’s passage was hosted by the Distillers Guild of Alaska Tuesday, August 5, at Anchorage’s Bare Distillery.

“The changes made in HB 309 are on par with what other Alaska manufacturers do to promote regional microbreweries,” Tuck said. “Outdated, Prohibition-era rules prevented similar treatment of reasonably priced, hand-crafted Alaska spirits, and the market continued to be dominated by large-scale, out-of-state manufacturers.  I’m pleased to remove a competitive disadvantage from our local Alaska businesses so they may cater to visitors and better promote Alaska-made products.”

Retailing in-house will enable distilleries to subsidize visitor-friendly shops and hospitality rooms, which will help promote Alaska-produced beverages and enable Alaska businesses’ products to compete with imported goods. These changes will allow small-scale spirits producers to innovate, create Alaska-based manufacturing jobs, support Alaskan agriculture, and compete effectively with imported products in the marketplace. 

“This is a real boost to a new industry in Alaska,” Heather Shade, co-owner of the Port Chilkoot Distillery and President of the Distillers Guild of Alaska, said, “and that translates to jobs for Alaskans. I will be able to hire two people when this law goes into effect. That may not sound like a lot, but in a town the size of Haines, two jobs is a big deal.”

Jeremy Loyer, Managing Founder of Anchorage’s Bare Distillery emphasized the home-grown nature of Alaska’s distilleries. “Alaska’s distillers proudly support local farmers, fishermen, berry pickers, and beekeepers. For example, our “Truuli Peak” vodka is made from pure Alaska water, Delta barley, and Chugiak wildflower honey; it’s a 100% Alaska product.”

HB 309 received bi-partisan co-sponsorship and support and was signed into law by Governor Parnell July 14, 2014. The measure takes effect October 12, 2014.

The Distillers Guild of Alaska was formed in 2014 to represent the distilling industry in Alaska.  To learn more about Alaska’s distilleries, please visit their individual websites: Ursa Major Distilling (Fairbanks) www.ursamajordistilling.com; High Mark Distillery (Sterling) www.highmarkdistillery.com; Alaska Distillery (Wasilla) www.alaskadistillery.com; Bare Distillery (Anchorage) www.truulipeakvodka.com; and Port Chilkoot Distillery (Haines) www.portchilkootdistillery.com.

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