Alaska Liquor Laws And Regulations

Alaska Liquor Laws And Regulations

Whether you plan to open a distillery in Alaska or you already run a successful brewery or winery, you need to be aware of Alaska’s liquor laws and regulations.

These laws continually change, from different licenses and shipping permits to limits in production levels.

In this guide, we take a closer look at the liquor laws in Alaska and what licenses you need to open and run a distillery.

Liquor Laws In Alaska

Liquor Laws In Alaska

In 2022, the new Senate Bill 9 was signed into Alaska law. This bill revamped regulations and licensing for alcohol-related businesses across the state of Alaska.

The bill includes new requirements, licensing fees, permits and requirements for any business selling and importing alcoholic beverages into Alaska.

The SB9 bill regulates requirements for tasting rooms as well as an increasing number of liquor license applications.

Previously, alcohol licenses were capped based on local population but the SB 9 bill lifted this cap.

One of the biggest updates with SB 9 is that direct shippers outside of Alaska require a manufacturer direct shipment license which is biennial.

This allows the holder of a manufacturer license that was issued in another US state to sell and distribute their products to consumers across Alaska.

Direct shipping businesses that do not have this license may be found guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

Tax Requirements For Distilleries In Alaska

Just like any other businesses in Alaska, distilleries, breweries and wineries are required to pay taxes.

In the past, distilleries that didn’t have a physical presence in Alaska were exempt from tax obligations.

However, Alaska’s Senate Bill 9 also requires direct shippers from outside of the state to pay the Alaska alcoholic beverage tax.

The specific rates vary depending on the type of alcohol the business sells.

Out-of-state sellers will need to advise the Alaska Department of Revenue each month of their total number of gallons sold, the details of each buyer in Alaska and how much each buyer bought.

Distillery Licenses Required In Alaska

Each distillery in Alaska needs a variety of licenses to produce their products with ethanol.

You can find the different licenses you need on the website Alaska’s Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.

As applying for a liquor license is a long process, applicants should expect the application to take between 3 and 6 months to process.

The application requires the approval from your local government, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) and several other state agencies.

That’s why it is important that new distilleries submit their application to the state according to the defined board deadlines.

However, your submission with the deadline doesn’t guarantee that your application will be part of the next scheduled board meeting of the ABC.

The volume of your application and the completeness can affect the processing time, so it is essential that your application is final before you submit it.

Alaska Alcohol License Fees

Distilleries and other businesses that sell alcohol need to pay individual license fees when they submit their alcohol production application.

Here is an overview of all the fees, distilleries can expect to pay with their new application or a request to change their license:

  • New application fee
  • Transfer application fee
  • Renewal application fee
  • Fingerprint fee (per person)
  • Restaurant designation fee
  • Business name change fee (AB-13)
  • Licensed premises diagram change fee (AB-14)
  • Seasonal alternating premises request (AB-35)

There is also a licensing fee specifically for the type of license, from distilleries, wineries, and breweries to bottling works, clubs and restaurants.

Alaska Requirements For Distilleries

Alaska Requirements For Distilleries

Wineries, taste rooms, distilleries and other businesses that sell alcoholic beverages have to adhere to certain tax, licensing and shipment requirements.

Only Ship Alcohol To “Wet Areas”

There are 75 communities in Alaska that ban the possession and importation of alcohol. Sellers should be aware of these areas and avoid shipping their products to these zip codes.

Alaska also has regions where alcohol limits of possession and import apply. You can find out more about “wet” and “damp” areas in Alaska on the Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office website.

Verify The Age Of Buyers

All distilleries and alcohol retailers need to verify that their consumers are at least 21 years of age. This should be done through an age verification service.

Deliverers of alcoholic beverages are also required to get a delivery signature from anyone who is receiving alcoholic products.

Shippers also need to clearly label any packages that contain alcohol and alcoholic products.

Additionally, the shipper must label packages as containing alcohol.

Provide Warnings To Consumers

Alcohol manufacturers and sellers must provide electronic or written information about fetal alcohol effects and fetal alcohol syndrome together with their products.

This is to ensure that health risks associated with alcohol consumption are kept to a minimum and users are fully aware of potential health concerns.

Maintain Detailed Sales Records

As part of the manufacturing direct shipment licenses, all manufacturers need to keep detailed records of all the sales they make to Alaska.

These records must be kept for at least two years and they need to be available for audit and inspection upon request at all times.

Use Approved Carriers

Alcoholic beverage manufacturers and sellers need to use common carriers that are approved by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Adhere To Specific Volume Limits

There are a number of different volume limits that come with a direct shipper license. Distilleries are not permitted to sell more than:

  • 1.5 L of distilled spirits to a buyer in a single transaction
  • 4.5 L of distilled spirits to a buyer in a single calendar year
  • 18 L of wine to a buyer in a single transaction
  • 108 L of wine to a buyer in a single calendar year
  • 288 ounces of brewed alcohol to a buyer in a single transaction
  • 13.5 gallons of brewed alcohol to a single buyer in a calendar year

Alaska’s Alcohol Production Cap

While many small alcohol manufacturers are eligible for Alaska’s direct shipment license, the state excludes large manufacturers.

If an alcohol producer manufactures more than 300,000 barrels of brewed beverages or more than 50,000 gallons of distilled spirits, then he cannot apply for a license.

It’s worth noting here that there is no specific cap for wine.

These production caps for alcoholic beverages are far stricter than in many other states across the US.

This allows only smaller businesses to ship alcohol to Alaska supporting the popularity of small breweries and distilleries.

Final Thoughts

Alaska’s liquor laws and regulations can vary according to the individual county, so distilleries should check with their local authorities for any licenses and permits they need.


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