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A Military Discount on Beer? Not in Alaska

When a hostess at an Airport Heights buffet offered underage customers a 10 percent military discount on beer, she was breaking not one Alaska law, but two, according to charges filed this week in state court.

Prosecutors on Wednesday charged Kogi restaurant owner Young Hyon Kim with perjury, failure to have a valid alcohol server education card and a little-known rule that bans bars and restaurants from serving cut-rate drinks.

The law, created in 1986, is why you don’t see happy hour prices on beers and cocktails at Alaska bars.

The price for any given drink must remain the same for a calendar week under the statute.

Businesses can still offer discounted food-and-drink combos.

“It’s to prevent binge drinking, which cuts down on DUIs,” said Robert Beasley, enforcement supervisor for the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Happy hour prices and drink discounts are outlawed in some, but not all, states.

For Kogi, the trouble began Nov. 8 when three young people walked into the 800 Northway Drive restaurant as part of an undercover sting by ABC Board investigators. Each paid for a buffet and beer, according to the charges. All three were under 21 and showed hostess Hanmi Pounds their military dependent ID cards, prosecutors say. The age of military dependents is printed on the back of their ID cards. The hostess did not look at the dates of birth, the charges say.

Neither Kim nor the hostess had a valid alcohol server card, though Kim signed notarized paperwork with the state in November 2012 saying that he did, leading to the perjury charge, the complaint says.

ABC Board investigators used underage buyers with military IDs in another recent sting that prompted the board to suspend a Spenard liquor store’s liquor license for one week.

“There’s a lot of 18, 19, 20-year-old service people in this town,” Beasley said. “Just because they’re in the military, doesn’t mean they are 21.”

Prosecutors charged the Kogi hostess with selling alcohol to a minor. Kim is also charged with being a liquor licensee responsible for alcohol violations. He referred questions about the case to his son, who said he was unaware of the charges.

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