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Idaho State Liquor Division News

Bill Introduced to Reform Idaho’s Liquor License Laws

Idaho Press

By Savannah Cardon January 30, 2019

BOISE — The Senate State Affairs Committee on Wednesday introduced legislation that would completely reform Idaho’s liquor license laws to address the state’s steep license prices, while also imposing additional requirements on restaurants serving alcohol.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, strikes the current quota system for issuing licenses based on population, and instead gives the control to local cities and counties. It also adds incentives to state license holders and tightens the regulations and punishments on those who serve alcohol in Idaho.

“I know this is going to be a highly contested issue, and I think it’s something we do need to take a look at as we try to modernize and adjust for what’s going on in our state,” said Senate Assistant Majority Leader Chuck Winder, R-Boise. “I commend Senator Rice for having the courage and the time to go back in and really look at these laws and I look forward to hearing the public testimony as we move forward.”

If passed, it would take effect on Jan. 1, 2020. The state would no longer issue licenses and cities and counties would have the power to issue — or choose not to issue — non-transferable liquor-by-the-drink licenses. The existing state licenses would still be transferable on the secondary market, and would be transferable from one city to another, which is not the case today.

“This is something that would enhance local control,” Rice said. “It also provides the process if the citizens chose to try and override their city council or county commission by voter initiative.”

The current quota system, which Rice said has “created some rather interesting dynamics throughout our state,” gives every Idaho city at least two liquor licenses, and one additional license for every 1,500 people. The nearly 70-year-old system has caused a wait time of five to eight years in Boise for a $750 state-issued license.

As the state grows at a rapid pace, the quota system has created a long waiting list of businesses hoping to obtain a license, as well as a disparity of licenses because they can only be sold in the city issued. This has led to a secondary market in selling and leasing existing licenses, which can sell for six-figure prices.

“We’re back and forth as we try to find a way to update and modernize our liquor system in Idaho so the small businesses, the small restaurants would have an opportunity to have a liquor license,” State Affairs Committee Chairwoman Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, said. “The way it is now, it’s too expensive for the small business people to get a license.”

If the bill becomes law, existing liquor licenses would retain some value — they’d be given a 10 percent discount on liquor purchases from the state dispensary. Current law allows for a 5 percent discount.

The bill also clarifies and makes the penalties clear and stronger for businesses with liquor licenses. It requires that the state have specific training for employees who would be serving liquor. Training could include topics like learning how to recognize when somebody has had too much to drink.

Liquor license reform has been a topic of discussion for many years. Lawmakers have before tried to change the state’s liquor laws, but have yet to see success; former Gov. Butch Otter unsuccessfully proposed reforms a decade ago.

“This is not the day to settle whether it’s right or wrong,” Sen. Kelly Anthon, R-Burley, said. “This is a day to determine whether this is an appropriate conversation to have.”


Friday, January 4, 2019

BOISE, Idaho – Newly elected Idaho Governor Brad Little has appointed Jeff Anderson to continue his service as Director for both the Idaho Lottery and the Idaho State Liquor Division.

Anderson has served as Idaho Lottery Director since 2007 and as Director of the Idaho State Liquor Division since 2010. During his years of service, the Lottery and Liquor Division have combined to return over a billion dollars in dividends from product sales to the People of Idaho.

“It is an honor to serve in Governor Little’s new administration,” Anderson said. “His focus on integrity, transparency, and prudent fiscal policy will continue to make Idaho a leader in opportunity and growth.”

In addition, Anderson has represented the State’s interests nationally by serving as the President of both the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries and the Multi-State Lottery Association. He was also Chairman of the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association.

Prior to joining the Idaho Lottery in 2007, he spent 25 years in broadcasting, most recently as Vice-President and General Manager of CBS affiliates KBOI-TV (Boise) and KIDK-TV (Idaho Falls) from 1996 to 2006.

Idaho's new DUI law requires first-time offenders to install ignition locking devices

Post Register

By Tommy Simmons
January 1, 2019

Beginning Tuesday, first-time offenders of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Idaho will be required by law to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles.

Previously, only people who got a DUI on more than one occasion were required to use the device. It requires a driver to blow into a mouthpiece before starting their vehicle; the mechanism will only unlock the ignition if the driver is deemed sober.

The new law requires DUI offenders to install the device in their vehicle, at their expense, for a year, after their license suspension period. When Idaho passed the legislation, it became one of 29 states in the country that require the installation of an interlock device as a result of any DUI offenses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

New Idaho DUI Law Requiring Ignition Lock Device

The legislation was the end goal of a bill sponsored by state Sen. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, and state Rep. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise. That bill passed in March with broad support: 55-14-1 in the House, and 21-12-2 in the Senate. The legislators worked with AAA Idaho, an organization that researches drunk driving and deterrence and supported the law change.

“People drive under the influence an average of 80 times before being arrested for their first offense,” said Matthew Conde, public affairs director for AAA Idaho.

In addition to that, Conde said, three-fourths of people who have their license suspended continue to drive anyway, so simply suspending a license is not a deterrent, he said.

The installation of an ignition interlock device allows a person to remain a functioning member of society, Conde said, while also ensuring their sobriety on the road.

“Obviously there’s a human element of compassion for the drunk driver, but we need to balance that against the public interest and the human cost some of (the victims of drunk driving) are carrying,” Conde said.

The new law requires those convicted of a DUI to pay for the device themselves. While a judge does have the option of exempting an offender from that cost, “financial hardship standing alone is not a mitigating circumstance,” according to the bill’s statement of purpose.

Burgoyne said Idaho has multiple manufacturers of ignition interlocking devices, helping to make them more affordable.

“The cost has become much more reasonable than it used to be,” Burgoyne said. “We didn’t think the issue of financial hardship was at least a current issue.”

Offenders convicted of a DUI are required to pay a $15 fee in the state of Idaho on top of their other court costs. Those fees make up a county fund to help offset the cost of interlocking devices for the state’s most indigent offenders.

Conde estimated a device might cost about $50 to install, and, overall, about $2 or $3 a day to maintain after that — and it could actually save some people money, he said, citing research indicating many DUI offenders spend $12 to $13 a day on alcohol.

The law is set to take effect Tuesday, unlike many other pieces of legislation, which commonly list July 1 as a start date. That’s because the bill passed in March, when the Idaho Transportation Department was eyeing a massive software update scheduled for the summer. Because license revocation and suspension is also the administrative responsibility of the Idaho Transportation Department, it would make sense of the department to make the necessary new adjustments part of the new software system.

Burgoyne sees the law as less of a punitive measure and more of a practical step for the good of both offenders and other drivers.

“It’s really great in terms of the drivers themselves — who wants to get down the road to their second DUI offense?” Burgoyne said. “And it’s really great for public safety.”

Idaho State Liquor Division Awards $60k Through Alcohol Education Mini Grant Program

By Catie Wiseman
December 12, 2018

The National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA), the Idaho State Liquor Division’s trade association, recognizes the importance of its role and more importantly, that of its member states, in the area of alcohol abuse prevention and education. As such, NABCA has made available to the ISLD, an education award of $60,000 for development, enhancement or expansion of effective alcohol education efforts. The ISLD in turn, created a competitive Educational Mini Grant program to distribute these funds to various partnering organizations throughout the state. Grants starting at a $250 funding request with a maximum of a $10,000 funding request were submitted in October. The ISLD assembled a committee of reviewers and 15 organizations were selected to receive funding and resource support to implement their innovative and creative alcohol education activities.

“The ISLD is grateful that NABCA supports the states’ efforts in alcohol education. There is great work being done throughout the state and it is an honor to be able to award those groups that are doing the work. We thank them and commend them for making a difference in their communities,” states Jeff Anderson, director of the ISLD. “Additionally, the community groups and the entire division are grateful to the leadership of Catie Wiseman and the evaluation committee for reviewing the submissions that totaled over $110,000 in requests. It was a difficult decision and we appreciate all involved.”

This is the seventh year the ISLD has implemented a competitive alcohol education mini grant program. The award amount has grown from a $10,000 award in 2013 to a $60,000 award in 2019. We congratulate the following awardees of the 2018-2019 ISLD Mini Grant Award Program:

  1. Think Twice or Pay the Price Sticker Shock Campaign – Office of Drug Policy / Statewide
  2. TRAPPED Leadership Conference – Community Youth in Action / Idaho Falls
  3. Lapwai Underage Drinking Sticker Shock Campaign – Lapwai Community Coalition / Lapwai
  4. Drinking and Driving? No thanks! I’ll walk! – Palouse Prevention Coalition / Moscow
  5. Preventing Adolescent Alcohol Abuse: Healthcare Based Interventions Project – St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center / Boise-Statewide
  6. Compliance Checks, Shoulder Taps and Red Ribbon Week Activities – Meridian Anti-Drug Coalition / Meridian
  7. Safe and Legal Alcohol Initiative – Clearwater Youth Alliance / Orofino
  8. Alcohol Use Prevention and Alternative Activities – Lewis-Clark State College / Lewiston
  9. Valley 2019 Senior Sober Event – Valley High School / Hazelton
  10. Alcohol Prevention and Education at Frank Church High School – Terry Reilly / Nampa/Boise
  11. Timberline Senior Graduation Celebration – Timberline PTO / Boise
  12. Cottonwood Police Prevention Education Mobile Trailer – Cottonwood Police / Cottonwood
  13. Training for Asset Building – Teton County Juvenile Probation / Driggs
  14. Life skills training and youth activities – Cornerstone Teen Center / Nezperce
  15. U of I Alcohol Assessment & Education Programs – University of Idaho / Moscow


Media contact: Nicole Fitzgerald, 208-854-3040,
November 14, 2017

Think Twice Campaign

BOISE, IDAHO – The Idaho Office of Drug Policy, the State Liquor Division and 22 community prevention organizations across Idaho are hoping to use “sticker shock” to stop underage drinking this holiday season.

The youth-led “Sticker Shock” public awareness campaign starts Friday, November 24th in 60 liquor stores throughout Idaho. Its goal is bringing more public attention to the issue of underage drinking and the adults who provide alcohol to minors.

Student volunteers will place eye-catching stickers on the bags that customers use to carry their purchases from liquor stores. The “Think Twice or Pay the Price” stickers stand out on the store bags, and provide a strong reminder: “If You Provide Alcohol to Minors, You Could Face up to $1,000 in Fines & up to one year in Jail.”

“We know that 42.2 percent of Idaho youth who drink underage usually obtain alcohol by someone giving it to them, including through adults 21 and older who can purchase it legally,” said Nicole Fitzgerald, administrator of the Idaho Office of Drug Policy. “We are excited about this campaign and encourage Idaho adults to join us in keeping Idaho kids alcohol-free this holiday season.”

“The Idaho State Liquor Division is proud to support this worthwhile effort that’s of great benefit to the entire Gem State,” Division Administrator Jeff Anderson said. “We know that underage drinking doesn’t start with a drink; it starts with an excuse by adults – the excuses they make when they think it’s harmless to provide beverage alcohol to underage people. ‘We did it when we were young,’ ‘It’s just beer.’ We’ve all heard the excuses. The bottom line is it’s not OK to give alcohol to people under 21.”

The Office of Drug Policy and the State Liquor Division leaders recognize that community influences play a powerful role in the health, safety and well-being of children and families. They hope raising awareness about underage drinking, at the point of liquor sales, will help the message stick.

For additional information, please contact: Nicole Fitzgerald, 304 N. 8th Street, Room 455, 208-854-3040,

July 2017 to be the first-ever Idaho Spirits Month!

Media contact: Ken Wyatt, 208-392-7220,
June 21, 2017

July Idaho Spirits Month

BOISE, IDAHO — The month of July will mark the first-ever “Idaho Spirits Month,” thanks to a proclamation by Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, which will provide an opportunity for Idaho distilleries to showcase their products and underscore the benefits of craft-distilling to the Idaho state economy.

“We’re very excited about the designation of July as Idaho Spirits Month,” says Ken Wyatt, President of the Idaho Distillers Association and Co-Founder of 44º North Vodka. “This will be an important yearly event that will allow Idaho distilleries to highlight the value of their products to Idaho consumers and to the state economy. Eventually, we hope that Idaho Spirits Month will grow over time to join Idahoans and visitors in the celebration of the diverse bounty that the state has to offer in the realm of spirits as well as restaurants and nightlife.”

Members of the Idaho Distillers Association also will mark the month with tasting room and promotional events in bars and restaurants throughout the state, where consumers can enjoy locally produced products.

Craft-distilling in Idaho is growing but is still relatively small compared to similar activities in neighboring states such as Montana, Washington, and Oregon. However, the activity level in Idaho will grow due to consumer interest in small batch and local spirits production, Wyatt says.

Distilling in Idaho also benefits from the natural resources that the Gem State enjoys from ample, clean water along with access to a variety of grains, potatoes and fruits that can be used to distill spirit products. Like breweries and wineries, distillers are driving job growth and economic benefits such as increased tourism, both nationally and in Idaho.

Celebration of Idaho Spirits Month also will take place at the retail locations of the Idaho State Liquor Division (ISLD), which is responsible for the regulation and sale of liquor products in the State of Idaho. The ISLD will be setting up Idaho Spirits Month displays and offering discounts on select local products in their stores, statewide.

Idaho Distillers Association

The Idaho Distillers Association includes the following member companies: 44º North Vodka, 8 Feathers Distillery, Bardenay Distillery Restaurant, Corson Distillers, Distilled Resources, Koenig Distillery, Milltown Artisan Distillery, Up North Distillery, and Warfield Distillery & Brewery.

Please visit Idaho Distillers Association for more information about the Idaho Distillers Association.

See all of the wonderful products produced here in the state of Idaho.

Panel OKs Event-Center Liquor Licenses in Idaho Resort Towns

Sun Valley Resort in Sun Valley, ID Idaho Statesman

By Ryan Struyk
Associated Press April 7, 2015

BOISE, IDAHO — A bill that would give more liquor licenses to conference centers in Idaho resort towns has cleared a Senate panel.

The Senate State Affairs Committee narrowly voted 5-3 on Tuesday to endorse the plan, which is backed by a central Idaho-based event center hoping to draw more people.

Resort cities often have a limited number of liquor licenses available because licenses in Idaho are granted based on the number of permanent residents in a town.

Kate Haas, who represents the Ketchum-based event center, said the goal is to attract people to resort towns in larger groups than one family or tourist at a time. "When it's just your year-round residents there, a lot of them really struggle during that season to fill those hotel rooms and fill those restaurants," she said.

The plan allows only one additional liquor license per resort town. It also doesn't let a conference or event center sell or transfer its license to another business.

But the bill garnered opposition from the two highest ranking members of the chamber, Republican Sens. Brent Hill and Bart Davis, who say the bill has technical problems.

"Words matter," Davis said. "When I look at the language, it doesn't say what you say it says."

Hill also raised concerns about making sure the bill had enough limitations — alluding to the Legislature's effort to repeal slot-like instant horse racing machines that didn't match many lawmakers' expectations.

Republican Rep. Steven Miller from Fairfield, who is sponsoring the bill, said he hopes the bill will generate business in the resort towns during the offseason.

The bill has already passed the House 40-28. It now goes to the full Senate.

New Bill Allows On-site Sampling at Idaho Distilleries

March 27, 2014

BOISE, IDAHO — Idahoans now have the opportunity to sample distilled spirits at Idaho distilleries under new legislation signed on March 26, 2014 by Governor Butch Otter.

Senate Bill 1335 passed through the Idaho legislature on March 13 and went into effect July 1, 2014. This bill allows distilleries in Idaho to provide samples of their products at their manufacturing facilities with specific rules for sampling size ant tasting frequency. There will be no charge for these samples.

8 Feathers Distillery Sampling Bill

Increased revenue for the state and agriculture suppliers as well as increased employment opportunities for Idaho citizens were cited among the positive outcomes of allowing tasting during distillery tours. Previously, visitors to Idaho distilleries could only view the distilling process.

"This is a great opportunity for the distilleries in Idaho," said Marje Lowe, one of the founders of 8 Feathers Distillery in Boise. She along with business partner, Sandee Price, lobbied on behalf of the distilleries in this state to help get this bill passed. "We see our distillery as a destination. Now when people come to our distillery for a tour, they can try our product and make an informed purchase decision." Lowe said.

The bill met very little resistance on either side of the legislature – passing the Senate with a vote of 19–5–1 and the House of Representatives with a vote of 58–9–3. The bill was introduced by Senator Chuck Winder (R–Boise) and was carried on the House side by Representative Gayle Batt (R–Wilder).

The distillery movement is on the rise across the country and Idaho is no different. There are currently 8 distilleries in Idaho and 3 more have expressed their intent to open in the next year.

About 8 Feathers Distillery

Founded in 2013, 8 Feathers Distillery LLC is located in Boise and produces premium, small batch whiskeys made from the purest water and the finest grains locally sourced in Idaho.

Sandee Price
8 Feathers Distillery
S1335 Press Release
8 Feathers Distillery