How an effort by bar owners to limit sales by craft breweries and distilleries sank a widely supported overhaul of Alaska’s alcohol laws

Senate Bill 76, was written by Soldotna Republican Sen. Peter Micciche to balance the competing interests of the groups involved in the discussions: owners of bars, breweries, distilleries and stores that sell alcohol for profit, along with government and nonprofit entities that contend with Alaska’s widespread social problems caused by drinking.

But in the final weeks of this year’s legislative session, the fragile consensus among those groups collapsed amid a push by bar owners to add further restrictions on over-the-counter sales of beer and drinks at breweries and distilleries.

Bar owners say those sales are cutting into their own businesses. And an amendment to the bill adopted at their behest — with an assist from two legislators who have owned bars themselves — has now sunk all the other reforms in SB 76. Read more here.