- Associated Press - Friday, April 18, 2014

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The five craft distilleries in Alaska can start promoting themselves as tourism destinations after legislative action this week.

The Alaska Legislature has approved a bill that will treat the distilleries more like breweries, meaning they will be able to offer samples and sell directly to customers.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage. It passed the Senate on Thursday after the House gave its blessing earlier in the week. The bill now heads to Gov. Sean Parnell for his signature, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (http://is.gd/fhLIof).

House Bill 309 will allow distilleries to offer samples and to open gift shops.

Those on tours could get up to 3 ounces of spirits to sample on site. The distilleries can also sell up to a gallon for people to drink off the premises.

One of the distilleries that would benefit is Ursa Major Distilling in Fairbanks.

Owner Rob Borland earlier told the newspaper that current law hinders his ability to connect with consumers in a meaningful way, especially when compared to how breweries are allowed to operate.

He said the current law limits him from only selling to someone who holds a liquor license.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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