Renewal Of Two Bethel Liquor Store Licenses To Be Decided Tuesday. Public Invited To Testify.

May 21, 2018

At a public hearing in Bethel on May 21, 2018, the Alaska ABC Board will decide whether to renew Bethel Native Corporation's liquor license for Bethel Spirits and whether to transfer that license to Hooper Bay’s Sea Lion Native Village Corporation.
Credit Dean Swope / KYUK

The fates of Bethel’s two operating liquor store licenses will be decided on Tuesday, and the public is invited to take part. At 1 p.m. on May 22 at the Bethel Cultural Center, the Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board will hold a special public hearing on whether to renew both licenses and whether to transfer one of those licenses to another owner.

First, the Board will take up the renewal of Bethel Native Corporation’s liquor license for Bethel Spirits. If the Board votes to renew the license, it will then vote on whether to transfer that license to Caribou Traders Liquor, owned by the Sea Lion Corporation. The corporation from the dry village of Hooper Bay unsuccessfully pursued a liquor license in Bethel in 2017 and already owns one liquor license at an inn the corporation owns in Whittier, Alaska.

Next up, the board will vote on whether to renew the liquor license for AC Quickstop. Bethel City Council has protested that renewal because of public safety concerns, including increased calls for police and emergency services near the store since its opening.

The Board scheduled this special public hearing after a flood of public testimony on the licenses overwhelmed the statewide meeting in April, prompting the Board to table the items.

The public is invited to testify again during Tuesday's hearing by attending in person or by calling into 1-800-315-6338, code 69173#. In past meetings, comments have been limited to two to three minutes.