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Local distillers celebrate new law

By Bonney Bowman Photojournalist: Rachel McPherron - 5:04 PM August 5, 2014

A bill passed this legislative session is giving a boost to local distillers and creating a new tourist attraction.

Anchorage-based Bare Distillery is one of five distillers in the state celebrating a new law, which they say will allow them to grow.

The law puts distilleries on an even playing field with breweries and wineries. House Bill 309 allows distillers to bring in tours, hand out small samples and sell product on site.

“A lot of people are surprised to hear there’s a distillery in Anchorage. We’ve just been quietly working away and not been able to open up to the public so it’ll be cool to let people in, show them how vodka is made, show them what we do here,” said distiller Travis Lee.

Bare Distillery uses all local ingredients.

“We’re Alaska Grown certified, so all of our agricultural ingredients are grown right here in the state. We use barley from Delta Junction,” Lee said.

Lee says business has been growing slowly, but now the distillery can show off what they do to locals and tourists.

The law goes into effect on Oct. 12, 2014, and some of the distillers say they’re ready to open their doors to tours the very same day.

The other distilleries are located around the state, including Ursa Major Distilling in Fairbanks, High Mark Distillery in Sterling, Alaska Distillery in Wasilla and Port Chilkoot Distillery in Haines.

They banded together to form the Distillers Guild of Alaska and helped get the new law passed.

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