Lowell Shinn and Ed O’Neill sold their Brown Jug liquor store chain to a Canadian Corporation last year. The Candaian firm has raised prices, fired many long time employees and imposed a host of restrictions and benefit cutbacks on those employees that have remained.

How dumb are we???

The distributors that Brown Jug buys most of their stock from are based in Seattle (all liquor retailers in Alaska have to buy most of their stock from out of state distributors. Liquor retailers are required BY LAW to buy from AK State licensed distributors. Who paid our legislatures to support these out of state business concerns, and how can our elected reps claim to be looking out for Alaska?). So we are sending even more money out-of-state when we buy from the Canadians (Seattle + Canada means no $$$ for Alaska). I would urge you to look for local alternatives and lobby your elected representatives to relax the distribution laws so that Alaskans can compete with out-of-state distributors.

Tom, the guy who used to run the wine department at Brown Jug was fired a couple of months back (a cost saving measure by Brown Jugs new owners). I think Tom is working for La Bodega now. La Bodega is locally owned (I have no relationship with La Bodega except I shop there sometimes).

Liquor sales in Alaska is a multi-million dollar business, if you know of local retailers who don’t have outside affiliations – post their names. If you know that a retailer or distributor is owned by a corporation outside of Alaska – write a post and urge folks to buy their libation elsewhere. Else, as is the case now, every wine list at every restaurant will continue to list the same varietals and vintages, since all of the restaurants are forced to order stock from the Seattle distributors. If the Seattle distributors don’t want to carry a label – Alaskan merchants and restaurants are forbidden to sell it – simple as that. Thank your State Legislature!

It’s hard to find any information on Alaska’s official website about how to become a distributor of alcoholic beverages. Lots of links if you want to sell booze at the retail level – but The State is mumm on how to become a distributor; Hmmmmm. Most of the distributors that are peddling their wares here (%/capita) are based in Seattle and through their lobbying groups spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year lobbying Juneau, even when there is no liquor legislation pending. Why??? Like I said – wake up, outside interests are happy to walk away with our money and will pay what they have to for that privilege.

P.S. A big hug and a kiss for anyone who can find the list of registered lobbyists for 2008 (and how much they spent) on the Alaska State Website.