On Tuesday, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board in Fairbanks gave the go-ahead for the community of Kotzebue to move forward with opening a city-owned bar/restaurant in the city of just over 3,200 people. The new establishment will be the only business in the community that can sell alcohol for use on the premises in the area.
The idea of a bar and grill idea came on the heels of the city-owned liquor store that the city opened in 2010 to great revenue success. The city of Kotzebue states that the opening, and continued business with that alcohol package store, funded several community projects that include a playground and a new boat harbor.
Prior to opening the alcohol package store, the community of Kotzebue barred the sale of alcohol in the city for over two decades. The store has a purchase limit in place for the amount that can be bought at any one time.
City attorneys have said that the opening of the store, regulated by a local alcohol board, has saw a decline in alcohol/driving offenses as well as a decline in underage drinking. Opponents state that the opening of the store has led to an increase in drinking.
Following Kotzebue’s lead, other communities in the area are considering similar options for their communities.