New Bethel Liquor Store Open For Business

Bethel Spirits' location now houses Caribou Traders Liquor. They opened the doors on New Year’s Eve.
Credit Dean Swope / KYUK

There’s a new liquor store in Bethel trying to make sure that they don’t repeat the mistakes experienced with the former AC Quickstop Liquor store. Caribou Traders Liquor has opened at the same place where Bethel Spirits used to operate.

Bethel Native Corporation operated Bethel Spirits, but successfully transferred its license to Caribou Traders Liquor, which is owned by UCI, a subsidiary of Hooper Bay’s Sea Lion Corporation. The state Alcohol Beverage Control Board approved the transfer in December. Unlike Bethel Spirits, which only carried beer and wine, Caribou Traders also stocks hard liquor. Todd Perez is the general manager, and he says that it has been pretty quiet around the store since it opened on New Year's Eve. 

"Literally, we had not had to call the police on anybody. From what I understand, is a much different outlook than with the prior stores out there," Perez said. 

Perez says that the store is taking steps to limit the number of police calls. For instance, they won’t sell to anyone who walks in intoxicated and the store is limiting the amount of hard liquor a customer can buy.

"We’ve restricted it to three bottles of liquor per day, compared to the past when it was a case," Perez said. 

Perez says that this is a way to curtail bootlegging. But how do they plan to track this number?

"Just by visible person. The number of customers who come back a second time is very limited," Perez said.

Perez says that the store hopes to have a point-of-sale system in place that will improve the tracking of liquor sales to make sure customers stick to the three bottle per day limit. He says that will probably happen within the next two months.

Perez says that they plan to continue working with the Bethel community through the monthly Alcohol Task Force meetings. Meanwhile, the Bethel City Council is seeking another organization to step up and sponsor the Alcohol Task Force. The final task force meeting under the city’s sponsorship will take place on January 15 at 6 p.m.