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Bethel City Council To Vote On Protesting AC Liquor Store

Jun 25, 2019

The Bethel City Council will vote on protesting the liquor license transfer to AC.
Credit Christine Trudeau / KYUK

At least one member of the Bethel City Council doesn't want to see AC get another liquor license. Tonight, council member Leif Albertson will push a protest of the liquor license transfer from Kusko Liquor to The North West Company, which does business in Bethel as Alaska Commercial Company or AC. Albertson points to what happened the last time AC had a license to sell alcohol in Bethel.

"When given the opportunity, Alaska Commercial Company did not do the things that they know would have prevented death and misery in our community," Albertson said.

Albertson says that in the five months that Caribou Traders has been in the alcohol business, there has been nothing like the wave of alcohol related incidents, such as deaths and domestic violence, that was seen when AC sold alcohol. He blames AC’s business practices for that directly.

AC did promise to change, and has offered a 14-point improvement plan for how they would do things better this time. Albertson thinks it’s too late.

"Really, what it took was for them to lose their license for them to come back to the table and say 'we’re gonna do all these things,'" Albertson said.

Now Albertson wants to take many of AC’s promises and codify them into law. He’s proposing an ordinance that would limit people to two bottles of hard spirits per day, which liquor stores would be mandated to track with a “sell-to” list. Stores' business hours would also be shortened; they’d be allowed to be open from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

Albertson’s ordinance would eliminate alcohol sales to individuals with alcohol restrictions, and make it easier for police to arrest people for drinking in public spaces.

The Bethel City Council will vote on both the protest of the liquor license transfer to AC and the introduction of the ordinance to tighten alcohol laws tonight. Tune in to KYUK 640 AM for the live broadcast of the meeting.