City of Bethel Notice of Local Option Adoption

Bethel voters, during the last regular election, voted to adopt local option to prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages except through a restaurant or eating place license.

On Monday, January 6, 2020, the community of Bethel will fall under the State of Alaska Local Option provisions, prohibiting the sales of alcoholic beverages in Bethel except through a restaurant and eating place license (AS 04.11.491 (a) (2)). This local option change was ratified by the voters on October 1, 2019.

What does this mean?

January 5, 2020, is the last day the liquor stores in town will be able to operate. Legal sales of alcohol in the community will be through licensed restaurants which can only sell beer and wine to their customers.

Bethel residents will be able to import and possess alcoholic beverages. Residents may purchase alcohol by written order from vendors outside of Bethel for shipment to Bethel. Residents may also purchase from outside of Bethel and bring it in as luggage.

The limits for importation fall under AS 04.11.010 (no more than 10 ½ liters of distilled spirits, or 24 liters of wine or 12 gallons of malt beverage per person per month). The possession or importation of amounts greater than the Importation limits listed above, creates a presumption that the individual possessed the alcohol for sale. (AS 04.11.010 (c)).

The prohibition of possession of ingredients for homebrew only applies to dry communities. As long as residents are producing less than the possession limits and are not distributing for sale, or barter, it is legal to brew alcohol for personal use.

AS 04.16.125 requires special package for alcoholic beverages if the shipment is more than two liters of wine, one gallon of malt beverages, or one liter of distilled spirits. The container holding the alcohol must be clearly labeled as alcoholic beverages with at least two inch high letters, and an itemized invoice must be attached to the outside of the shipping container.

There are violation charges if convicted. Alaska Statute 04.11.010 manufacturing, selling, offering for sale, possessing for sale or barter, trafficking in, or bartering alcohol, which is commonly known as bootlegging, is a Class C felony.

And Alaska Statute 04.16.051 furnishing/delivery of alcoholic beverages to a person under the age of 21 is also a Class C felony.