Card pick could decide who gets Haines beer, wine license

Posted: Wednesday, June 14, 2000

HAINES (AP) -- The winner of a new beer and wine license in Haines may be decided by the luck of the draw.

The state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board is considering which of three restaurants will receive the new license. An additional license became available when the city's population exceeded 1,500.

If the board members see no best, obvious choice, they can decide the issue by having owners draw playing cards from a deck.

''Since there are three applicants, it would have so be something other than a flip of a coin,'' said ABC Board Director Doug Griffin.

Mountain Market, Fireweed Bakery & Cafe and The Wild Strawberry have applied. A decision by the four-member board is expected at a meeting Tuesday in Fairbanks.

''The state is giving something that becomes a big part of the value of their businesses,'' Griffin told the Chilkat Valley News. ''It is kind of a big deal.''

State officials say it's rare when the board must choose between competing businesses for a license. The board will aim for a decision that is ''most in the public interest,'' Griffin said.

The board will take into account public safety, suitability, size of the premises, proximity to others offering alcohol, and community amenities, including entertainment, dining facilities and tourist accommodations.

The license requires an establishment's food and nonalcoholic sales to be 50 percent of receipts and is intended as an accompaniment to dining.

The board received five comments regarding the applications. Three letters objected to any new licenses, including one letter from the Chilkoot Indian Association, which has organized sobriety programs in recent years. Two more letters of protest came from the owner of a bar and his wife.

Haines currently has five bars and two private clubs serving alcohol. Alcohol also is available at the Southeast Alaska State Fair.

An ABC Board investigator visited Haines last week to review applicants.

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