Kellen

Kellen Brent Pierce





By Kellen Brent Pierce

NFL Sunday. The first round of games kick off at 1 p.m. EST, which means 9 a.m. Alaska time, and if there happens to be games played in England, make that 5:30 a.m. in the Land of the Midnight Sun.

Normally you would sleep in, but for God’s sake I literally just said it’s NFL Sunday. You wake up, throw on that favorite jersey, groggily make it to the bar in time score your favorite table, prepare to settle in for the next few hours, and place your order. You’re then told, middle-age football fan, that while your eggs will be right up, you — a fully grown-ass adult — will have to wait 60 to 90 minutes before you can legally drink that Bloody Mary.

Meanwhile, you’re getting taunting pics from your buddies in the Valley, hands full of deliciously garnished beverages because, while Alaska law prevents the sale of liquor before 8 a.m., here in Anchorage some nanny muni law says we can’t imbibe before 10 a.m.

And it’s not for lack of opposition. In late 2018, Anchorage Assembly member Eric Croft proposed an extension of serving hours, arguing that it would benefit tourism and help the idea of the then-proposed alcohol tax go down easier. That proposal would’ve allowed bars and restaurants to serve alcohol at 9 a.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. on weekends. At the time, Croft said that at least one bar owner would concede to the tax if it meant expanded serving hours.

A year before Croft’s proposal, in late 2017, the Cook Inlet Cabaret Hotel Restaurant and Retailers Association (CHARR) was encouraging voters to let assembly members like Croft know that they’d appreciate a sensible expansion of serving hours. KTVA 11 set the scene at Peanut Farm, where several visitors had arrived for football only to find that their first hour would have to be dry.

CHARR flyers posted around town at the time read, “This provides you the opportunity to enjoy a beer with your football game in the morning, a drink before a morning flight at the airport, or the ability for night-shift workers to have an after-work beverage with friends.”

One notable argument against the expanded hours is Alaska’s history of alcohol abuse. Given that the seven alcohol taxes proposed over the last few decades all have failed, it appears that the City believes that limiting serving hours may be their only option to address the issue. But the morning’s paying customers at local establishments, under the watchful eyes of licensed servers and bartenders, are not the problem. Nor should they be the government’s charge.

Law enforcement could always go back to patrolling bars and handing citations out to the visibly intoxicated. Not that I’m saying they should do that, but they totally did do exactly that back in 2012.

Meanwhile, in 2017, one Peanut Farm customer opposed to the expanded hours told KTVA “he doesn’t drink because he’s a Christian and enjoys the early alcohol-free environment at Peanut Farm before church on Sundays.”

You do what you like, Captain Buzzkill, but the rest of us are over here — you know, in a BAR, where you’re also at — waiting for someone to turn our water into wine. Let us know if there’s any well-known historical figure you can think of to facilitate that.

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