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Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office

Alcoholic Beverage FAQ



AMCO does not provide legal advice. The information contained within these webpages is provided for your convenience and is not to be interpreted as legal advice. It is your responsibility to know what your licensing, reporting and filing requirements are based on your specific business activities. You must meet legal obligations to conform and comply with all requirements, and claiming not to know them is not a defense. You are encouraged to seek the advice of a professional, such as a an Attorney if you need additional assistance.


Serving Hours

During what hours may licensed businesses serve alcohol?

The State's alcoholic beverage laws allow licensed businesses to serve alcohol from 8am to 5am the following morning every day of the year except on election days. However the law also allows local governing bodies by ordinance to make hours more restrictive or to opt out of the election day closure. All of Alaska's larger cities and many of its smaller communities have adopted ordinances restricting operating hours under AS 04.16.010(d).

How soon before closing time is "last call"?

The law requires that at closing time no-one be present on the licensed premises except employees preparing for the next day’s business. It does not address when the last drink can be served. That is a determination that must be made by the individual licensee.

What are the rules for election days?

  • Licensed businesses must be closed on days when there is an election for a candidate for public office until after the polls close (normally 8pm). Local governing bodies may adopt ordinances exempting licensed businesses within their jurisdiction from this requirement under AS 04.16.070. Check with your local government.
  • Is it possible for a business to stay open after legal hours but not serve alcoholic beverages?

  • A business that the board identifies as a "bona fide" restaurant or eating place may allow customers to enter and remain on their licensed premises for consumption of food and non-alcoholic beverages only. All other licensed businesses may not be open during "closed" hours.
  • Is it possible for a business to stay open after legal hours but not serve alcoholic beverages?

    A business that the board identifies as a "bona fide" restaurant or eating place may allow customers to enter and remain on their licensed premises for consumption of food and non-alcoholic beverages only. All other licensed businesses may not be open during "closed" hours.

    Importation for Personal Use

    Does Alaska regulate importation for personal use?

    Alaska does not limit or tax alcoholic beverages brought into this state for personal use and not for resale. Out-of-state suppliers may ship alcoholic beverages to Alaska residents. Over 75 Alaska communities have, by local option, banned the importation or possession of alcoholic beverages. It may be a felony crime to ship alcoholic beverages to those communities. A list of those communities can be found on the Alcohol Local Option page of this web site.

    What if I want to bring alcohol from out of state when I move to Alaska?

    If you are military personnel relocating to Alaska, and you need documentation stating Alaska does not regulate alcohol imported for personal use, you can download the Importation for Personal Use Letter.

    Can I have alcohol sent to me from out of state?

    Yes, as long as it is for personal use, not for resale, you do not live in a local option (dry) community, and it is not sent through the United States Postal Service (USPS)..

    Legal age, Identification, and Underage Persons

    What is the legal drinking age in Alaska?

    21 years of age.

    What is the minimum age for sellers/servers of alcoholic beverages?

    21 years of age.

    Under what circumstances can an underage person be present on licensed premises?

    Persons under the age of 21 may not enter or remain on licensed premises unless accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or spouse over the age of 21 years. Notwithstanding this rule, licensees may exclude underage persons from licensed premises at any time.

    Are there any exceptions to this rule?

    Yes, there are four exceptions, all subject to pre-approval by the Alcohol Beverage Control Board:

    • Persons 18, 19 and 20 years of age may work on the licensed premises of hotels and restaurants but may not sell, serve, or deliver alcoholic beverages.
    • Persons 16 and 17 years of age may be employed on the licensed premises of businesses the board has designated as "bona fide" restaurants with the written consent of their parent or legal guardian and an exemption certificate from the Department of Labor, but may not sell, serve, or deliver alcoholic beverages.
    • Persons 16 years of age and above may enter licensed premises of businesses the board has designated as bona fide restaurants for the purpose of dining only.
    • Persons under the age of 16 may enter licensed premises of businesses the board has designated as "bona fide" restaurants for the purpose of dining only when accompanied by a person over the age of 21 years and with the consent of the underage person’s parent.
    May underage persons employed on licensed premises clean tables that have containers with unconsumed portions of alcoholic beverages?

    Yes, but the unconsumed alcoholic beverages must be disposed of in waste water or a waste container immediately.

    I have a license which also has a restaurant designation permit. Sometimes we have live bands perform and a member of the band might be under 21 but at least 16. Can this band member be here without a parent or legal guardian?

    No. The RDP only allows persons who are at least 16 to be present unaccompanied for the purposes of dining only. Playing in a band providing live entertainment is not dining and it is also live entertainment, which prohibits the presence of unaccompanied minors.

    Can my child sit at the bar?

    If a Restaurant Designation Permit allows, then yes, and only with a parent or legal guardian who is at least 21 years of age.

    Can a coach bring a team of 13-year-old kids into an establishment for pizza if it is a licensed alcohol premises?

    Generally, no, unless, the bar has been issued a restaurant designation permit (with that specific designation approved), and the kids are there only to eat, and the children have the consent of a parent or legal guardian.

    Are there any situations when an underage person can legally possess and consume alcoholic beverages?

    Only if the underage person is not on a licensed premises and the alcoholic beverage is provided by a parent, legal guardian, or spouse over the age of 21 years, per AS 04.16.051(b).

    Can an underage person possess and consume non-alcoholic beer or wine?

    Yes, non-alcoholic beer and wine (containing less than 0.5% alcohol by volume) are not considered alcoholic beverages. Legally non-alcoholic beer and wine are no different than coffee, tea, or soft drinks.

    When should a licensee or licensee's employee or agent ask to see identification?

    There are several situations when it may be appropriate to ask to see identification (such as when a customer is paying a bill by check), the only time that the State’s alcoholic beverage laws require that ID be checked is when the licensee or the licensee's agent or employee is not sure that the customer is 21 years of age or older. If identification is not produced, the licensee may not serve that person or allow the person to remain on the licensed premises unless valid identification is produced per AS 04.21.050. Some local governing bodies may have ordinances that require a universal ID check; please contact your local government official for more information.

    What is "valid" identification?

    Valid identification means an unexpired, unaltered passport or an unexpired, unaltered driver’s license or identification card issued by a federal or state agency authorized to issue drivers’ licenses or identification cards. If an alcohol server has reason to believe that the identification card presented is fraudulent, the licensee, agent, or employee shall refuse entrance to a licensed premises and shall refuse service to that person, per 3 AAC 304.425(b).

    Are Tribal ID’s a valid form of identification for purchasing alcohol in Alaska?

    Yes, If it is issued by a State or Federal Agency (i.e. Certificate of Indian Blood) (3 AAC 304.425) and if the license or identification card is made of or encased in plastic and contains a photograph of the licensee or card holder and a statement of age or date of birth (AS 04.21.050).

    What are the penalties if an underage person attempts to use false ID to enter a licensed premises and purchase alcoholic beverages?

    A fine of not more than $5000.00 and imprisonment for up to 1 year.

    Can a person with a restricted ID (Red Stripe) enter a licensed premises?

    A person who is restricted from purchasing alcohol under AS 04.16.160 may not knowingly enter or remain in a licensed premises to obtain or consume alcohol, per AS 04.16.047.

    Does everyone who enters a package store need to provide identification, or just the person purchasing?

    Depending on the store policy, anyone who enters a licensed premises is subject to an identification check.

    Server Education

    Can an employee use the printed receipt as proof the alcohol server education class has been completed?

    Title 4 anticipates alcohol certification cards to be kept on the servers person. Other types of proof may be accepted on a case by case basis

    Does a busboy need to have an alcohol server education card?

    No, as long as the employee does not take orders, check identification, or serve or sell alcohol.

    I own a liquor license, I’m the licensee. I don’t run my business and am hardly there, do I need server training?

    Yes, AS 04.21.025(a): Licensee is required to have server education.

    I am the licensee but I never serve alcohol, do I need to have alcohol server education?

    Yes, you need current alcohol server education. Regardless of your involvement with the service of alcohol, AS 04.21.025 requires all licensees, agents, and employees to complete an alcohol server education course.

    I just got here from another state. I took an alcohol server training program in that state. Why do I have to take the course again to work in the licensed beverage business in Alaska?

    Alcoholic beverage laws differ from state to state. In Alaska, licensees and their agents and employees must take an alcohol server training course within 30 days of employment, unless local rules require training before beginning employment. The course must be reviewed and approved by the ABC Board. The board will not approve a course unless it covers 16 specific areas of Alaska law. Courses approved in other states may have the same title but are not the same as the course taught in Alaska. Please check the link on our website to find contact information for the approved alcohol server education courses in Alaska.

    Licensing

    What are the different kinds of public licenses that operate at the retail level and what are the privileges that come with each?

    The Beverage Dispensary License allows the holder to sell all types of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the licensed premises only.

    The Restaurant or Eating Place License allows the owner of a bona fide restaurant to sell beer and wine for consumption on the licensed premises only and derives 50 percent of its sales from food.

    A Pub License allows the holder to sell beer and wine at a premises located on the campus of a college or university for consumption on the licensed premises only.

    A Recreational Site License allows the sale of beer and wine at a recreational site during and one hour before and after a recreational event for consumption on designated areas of the site only.

    A Common Carrier License allows the sale of alcoholic beverages aboard a boat, aircraft, or railroad buffet car licensed for passenger travel for consumption on the licensed premises only.

    An Outdoor Recreation Lodge License authorizes the holder to sell/serve alcoholic beverages to a registered overnight guest or off-duty staff of the lodge for consumption on the licensed premises or in conjunction with purchased outdoor recreation activities provided by the licensee.

    A Golf Course License authorizes the licensee to sell beer and wine on licensed premises located on a golf course.

    A Package Store License (Liquor Store) allows the holder to sell any kind of alcoholic beverages for consumption off the licensed premises.

    How do I get a liquor license?

    Licenses are issued based on population quota. Restaurant or eating place licenses are issued on the formula of one license for each 1500 of population within a political subdivision of the state. All other licenses are issued on a formula of one license for each 3000 of population. Generally speaking, the quota for most license types has been exhausted and no new licenses can be issued, you can check Here. Most licenses, however, are transferable. If you want to open your own business, you may need to find someone that would be willing to transfer an existing license to you .
    Please go here to find application forms and instructions.

    What is the difference between protesting a license and objecting to a license?

    “Protest” is a term specifically used for local governing bodies. “Objections” are for individuals, agencies, or non-government organizations that wish to petition against the issuance or renewal of a liquor license. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board will consider both objections and protests to licenses as part of the public hearing process, but the Board must deny an application if there is a protest from a local government that is deemed not to be arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable.

    How do I object to a specific liquor license?

    Alaska Statute provides that any person may object to an application for a new license or for the renewal of a liquor license. AS 04.11.470 provides that an objection must be in writing, state the reasons for the objection, and be served on the board and the applicant.

    If you have an objection to a license application, you must:

    • Indicate the liquor license number and name of the establishment to which you are objecting.
    • Write the reasons for the objection and indicate that you have served a copy of your objection on the applicant.
    • Email the objection to the board by sending it to alcohol.licensing@alaska.gov.
    • Mail or email the applicant a copy of your objection

    Objections will be considered by the board at the meeting for which consideration of the application is on the agenda.
    You cannot file an objection to an application that has not been received by the board. New/transfer license applicants often advertise but then take days or weeks to file the application with AMCO. Many renewing licensees wait until close to the deadline to file their renewal applications.

    I do not have a designated premises for my license. Can I just use a caterer’s permit to operate my license?

    No. According to AS 04.11.230, a caterer’s permit is for a holder of a beverage dispensary license to sell or dispense alcohol at certain types of events off the holder’s licensed premises. The holder of the beverage dispensary license must have an approved licensed premises. A detailed diagram of the designated licensed premises is required for all liquor license establishments, per AS 04.11.260,AS 04.11.430, and 3 AAC 304.185.

    Are growler privileges available to a brewpub licensee (both for beers produced on the premises as well as beer produced by other suppliers) and for a restaurant eating place license?

    Brewpub licenses are only issued in conjunction with either a Beverage Dispensary License (BDL) or a Restaurant / Eating Place License (REPL) A Brewpub licensee can serve beer that they produce as well as beer produced by other manufactures (Under their BDL or REPL). AS 04.16.015 prohibits a licensee, employee, or agent from delivering an alcoholic beverage to a person possessing two or more, but allows them to serve beer by the pitcher, with or without meals.
    A brewpub licensee may only sell beer that they produce for off-premises consumption (AS 04.11.135(a)(3)).

    I have a beverage dispensary or restaurant/eating place license. Can I sell my customers a growler of beer from my taps for them to take home?

    No. The only license types that afford you the opportunity to sell growlers of beer to customers for off-premises consumption are package store, brewpub, or brewery licenses. Brewpubs and breweries are also limited to selling only beer that they produce for off-premises consumption.

    Can I lease my license to another operator?

    No. A person other than a licensee may not have a direct or indirect financial interest in the business for which a license is issued, per AS 04.11.450.

    When is a duplicate license required?

    A duplicate license is required if there is a regularly maintained fixed bar in a separate room from which alcohol is served or sold to members of the public. AS 04.11.090(e)

    Caterer's Permits

    When having an event with multiple vendors, more than one of which is a licensee, will one “main” caterer’s permit cover the entire event?

    No. If Bar A has a booth selling beer and wine and has a caterer’s permit, and Bars B and C have booths and are giving out samples of their bacon bloody marys, Bars B and C still each need a caterer’s permit to serve alcohol off of their licensed premises. Bar A’s caterer’s permit only covers Bar A’s sale or service of alcohol off of their licensed premises, not the other bars.

    How long can an event be held on a single caterer’s permit?

    A permit will be issued only for a specified premises, for a specific occasion, and for a limited period of time. A permit application that is submitted for multiple days may require additional explanation or clarification.

    Is there a limit on the number of caterer’s permits per year.

    Most localities have a limit, however there is not limit set in state law

    Is a licensee allowed to cater alcohol service for another establishment while that applicant waits for his license to be issued?

    No

    Private Parties

    What factors would determine whether or not a permit must be obtained in order to serve alcohol?
    • If the event is open to the public, or is advertised publicly in any way, a permit would be required.
    • A permit is required if there is any charge for the event, including an entry fee, ticket sales, individual drinks, food, or if there are donations being accepted, with the exception of the specific situation described in the next question.
    • A permit is required if a licensed establishment is providing the alcohol at an event off of the establishment’s licensed premises.
    • A permit is required if the alcohol is being supplied or donated by a licensed wholesaler.
    My coworkers and I are having a private party at our office. Do we need a license or permit?

    AS 04.11.020 states that a license or permit is not required to serve alcoholic beverages in exchange for valuable contributions at a private gathering of a bona fide group of co-workers or of a professional, social or fraternal organization if equal contributions are made by all in attendance and only the amount required to purchase the alcoholic beverages is contributed.No members of the public could be invited to such an event, and no advertising should occur.

    Nonprofit Organizations and Special Events Permits

    What is required for a non-profit to get a special events permit?

    There are multiple requirements under AS 04.11.240:

    • You may only sell or dispense beer or wine for a specific occasion at a designated premises for a limited period of time.
    • You must be a non-profit registered with the state of Alaska under AS 10.20 for a period of at least two years.
    • All profits derived from the sale of beer or wine are paid to the organization, not to an individual.
    • You must get your completed application (form AB-05) to AMCO 10 days before the event.
    • You must have local law enforcement sign the application before submitting to AMCO.
    • You must submit a certified copy of the resolution of the board of directors authorizing the application along with an affidavit showing the duration of your organization.
    • The application must be signed by the current president and secretary and you must list the servers you intend to use.

    We are a nonprofit wanting to apply for a special events permit. Can we sell mixed drinks during our event?

    No. AS 04.11.240 only allows for the permit holder to sell or dispense beer or wine for consumption at a designated premises for a specific occasion and limited period of time.

    Non-Licensed Establishments

    I own a restaurant or an event location and would like to enable people to consume alcohol during an event. I don’t have a liquor license. Can people bring in their own wine and beer for consumption during the event?

    No. AS 04.16.090: Prohibition of Bottle Clubs specifically addresses this: AS 04.16.090(a) A person may not maintain a place in which alcohol beverages are received or kept, or to which alcoholic beverages are brought, for consumption by members of the public or by members of a club, corporation, or association, unless the person is authorized to do so under this title. (b) A person may not maintain, operate, or lease premises for the purpose of providing, for a consideration, a place for drinking alcoholic beverages by members of the public or other persons, unless the person is authorized to do so under this title. (c) For the purposes of this section, “consideration” includes but is not limited to cover charge, the sale of food, ice, mixers, or other liquids used with alcoholic beverage drinks, or the furnishing of glassware or other containers for use in the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

    Drink Limits, Happy Hours, and Pricing

    Can I sell beer at a discounted rate for one hour if the proceeds are going to charity?

    No. According to AS 04.16.015(a)(3) Pricing and Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages, a licensee or a licensee’s agent or employee may not sell, offer to sell or deliver alcoholic beverages to a person or group of persons at a price less than the price regularly charged for the beverages during the same calendar week, except at private functions not open to the general public.

    What are the rules on running drink specials?

    Specials must run for the entire calendar week and be available at all times that the business is open. You may not sell alcoholic beverages for less than you paid for them. Offering or delivering, as a marketing device to the general public, free or complimentary drinks, is illegal under AS 04.16.015.

    Can I advertise a “Happy Hour” for appetizers?

    Yes, as long as alcohol is not advertised at a special price. Please review AS 04.16.015.

    Can a package store provide promotional coupons for discounted or free alcoholic beverages?

    Yes. Package stores are not bound by pricing and marketing laws and regulations.

    What is a standard drink?

    6oz of Wine, 16oz of Beer, or 1.5oz of spirits

    Can I include an alcoholic beverage with a meal package?

    Alcoholic beverages can be included as a part of a meal package as long as the price of the meal package is at least the normal price of the alcoholic beverage.

    General Licensing and Enforcement Questions

    Do I have to buy all my alcohol from licensed wholesalers?

    No, you may purchase the alcoholic beverages that you intend to resell from Alaska-licensed package stores and manufacturers, as well as Alaska-licensed wholesalers.

    Can a bartender drink while on duty?

    The alcoholic beverage laws do not prohibit licensees or their agents or employees from drinking. However, it is illegal for a drunken person to remain on a licensed premises. So if a bartender became drunk, the bartender could face criminal charges and the liquor license could be in jeopardy, per AS 04.16.040.

    If I order a bottle of wine with dinner and don't finish it, can I take it home?

    Yes, a person may take their unfinished bottle of wine ordered with a meal home, but it must be either recorked, sealed with tamper resistant tape or placed in a tamper proof "wine doggie bag" container by the licensee, agent, or employee of the licensed establishment. If it is resealed as listed above, it is not considered an open container, per 3 AAC 304.410.

    Can I bring my own wine to a restaurant and just pay a "corkage fee" to drink it with my meal?

    A licensee may allow a patron to bring wine into a restaurant to be consumed with a meal. The licensee may charge a corkage fee to open and pour the wine.However, not all licensees allow this. Check with the restaurant's policy.

    As an employee of a licensee, can I take like brand name items and pour from the big bottle into the little bottle? (I am a bartender, my boss buys the 1.75 liter bottles but they are too large to serve out of.)

    Yes you can. However, 3 AAC 304.405 would prohibit you from taking a Monarch vodka brand and pouring it into a Grey Goose bottle, for example.

    Am I criminally liable if I served a person and they get into a car accident?

    AS 04.16.030 specifically prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages to drunken persons, or even to allow a drunken person to enter and remain within a licensed premises or to consume an alcoholic beverage within a licensed premises. Alaska courts have ruled a vendor of alcoholic beverages may be held civilly liable when the sale of liquor is a substantial factor in causing an injury.

    I own two restaurants within the same building connected by an indoor walkway. The two restaurants sell different types of cuisine. There are other stores between my two restaurants. I have a liquor license for only one of the restaurants. Can customers buy a beer from one restaurant and walk it to the other restaurant to dine there?

    No. It would be a violation of AS 04.16.120: Removal or Introduction of Alcoholic Beverages. A person may not remove from a licensed premises alcoholic beverages that have been sold or furnished for consumption only on the premises. The second restaurant, and the stores in-between, are not part of the first restaurant’s licensed premises.

    Do I need a license or permit to make homebrew?

    No, as long as you are not located in a local option community that bans possession of alcohol or homebrew ingredients, and the beer you make is not sold, bartered, or given for a consideration.

    I have a restaurant / eating place license; can I provide entertainment?

    Yes, until 11 pm. You must obtain written approval from the Director, as required by AS 04.11.100, if you intend to offer entertainment (including live music) later than that.

    When does a licensee have to surrender its license to the ABC board?

    The licensee must surrender the license if the establishment is closed for more than 30 days, or within 10 days of vacating the licensed premises.AS 04.11.580

    Can a licensee order product prior to the initial inspection or issuance of the license?

    No, not without approval of the Director.

    In the summer months, I want to expand our serving area to include an outdoor eating area. Can I do that?

    Not without submitting proper documentation to the Director and/or Board for approval. A detailed diagram of the proposed licensed premises is required for all liquor license applications, per AS 04.11.260,AS 04.11.430, and 3 AAC 304.185. Please see form AB-14

    Your diagram must include dimensions and must show all entrances and boundaries of the premises, walls, bars, fixtures, and areas of storage, service, and consumption. If you expand without prior approval, you will be in violation of AS 04.16.120: Removal or Introduction of Alcoholic Beverages, as well. Please also be aware of any local ordinances that may apply.

    Do I really have to post the warning signs at the front door? Some people find them confusing when they enter.

    According to AS 04.21.065 there are three types of signs required to be posted within a licensed premises. The warning signs required by must be at least 11 inches by 14 inches and the lettering must be at least one-half inch high and in contrasting colors. The first sign must read, "WARNING: Drinking alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, wine coolers, and distilled spirits or smoking cigarettes during pregnancy can cause birth defects." The second sign must read, "WARNING: A person who provides alcoholic beverages to a person under 21 years of age, if convicted under AS 04.16.051 , could be imprisoned for up to five years and fined up to $50,000." The third sign must read, "WARNING: A person under 21 years of age who enters these premises in violation of law could, under AS 04.16.049 (e), be civilly liable for damages of $1,000." The license or permit holder shall display the first and second signs in a manner that would make them conspicuous to a person who will be purchasing or consuming alcoholic beverages or smoking cigarettes on the licensed or designated premises and shall conspicuously display the third sign at each door through which customers enter the licensed premises.

    As a licensee, agent or employee, can I refuse to sell alcohol to a pregnant woman?

    Yes. According to AS 04.21.055, an employee of a licensee may refuse service of alcoholic beverages to a person if there is reason to believe that consumption will result in serious harm to that person or others.

    Can an out-of-state manufacturer of alcohol sell directly to a retailer, or do they have to go through a distributor?

    A licensee may not purchase, sell, or offer for sale an alcoholic beverage unless it was obtained from a person licensed by the State of Alaska (AS 04.16.172). If the manufacturer is out of state, Title 4 allows for the manufacturer to apply for a license.

    Can an employee leave a bar and/or alcoholic beverage point of sale unattended?

    No. Employees of licensees have a responsibility to ensure the business is lawfully conducted, which includes monitoring the licensed premises for any violations of the statute, including the presence of minors, the serving of alcohol by individuals not in possession of alcohol server certification, or the adulteration of beverages.

    Can an off-site storage facility be in a shared warehouse?

    Dependent upon the security of the facility and access to the public, a licensee may store alcoholic beverages off-premises provided the site used for storage has been inspected and approved by the board, and the storage is authorized by local zoning ordinances (AS 04.21.060).

    Can I give homebrewed beer away to a friend as a gift?

    Yes, as long as it is not for sale or barter, and as long as it is not being transported to a local option community.