On Monday, the Alaska Alcohol Beverage Control Board unanimously voted to revoke the liquor license of the Wild Alaskan, a floating bar and grill that also features exotic dancers after 9 p.m.
The issue ABC director Cynthia Franklin asked the board to considered was the "common carrier" license the Wild Alaskan sold liquor under. It allows the sale of alcohol on vehicles involved in transporting passengers or freight, such as trains, planes and boats. However, the Wild Alaskan has been anchored in one spot since the summer, and not moving around.
"What we got shut down for, Jay, is we served alcohol while on anchor. Wow."
Darren Byler is the owner and operator of the Wild Alaskan, which is the former crab boat Shaman.
"We broke no laws, we weren't serving any underage minors, we never over-served anybody that got drunk and went out and killed somebody that happens at other bars across the country."
Byler says this latest bump in the road stems from some in town who simply dissaprove of strip clubs.
"For all the haters in town, and the self-proclaimed morality police, I hate to say it, but you're going to lose on this one. You need to get back to minding your own business. If you don't like this, that's fine; we don't want you out here anyhow."
Byler says he will appeal the ABC Board's revocation of his license as far up the legal chain as it takes.
"While I'm appealing the case, I still get to use my common carrier liquor license. And we will appeal this to the Alaska Supreme Court if necessary, and that's two years down the road. For all of my regular customers who think I'm out of business, it's going to be business as usual for the next two years. And if for some reason they decide to take my license at the Supreme Court level, which I highly doubt, the charter will still be up and rolling. And we will have a 'bring your own booze out here. And our numbers will go from 12 to 50, 60 maybe even a hundred; just depends on how many people I want to put on the boat."
Byler agrees that a lot of the publicity over his business has been good he's been on a Chicago radio show, was just interviewed by the New York Post, and in true Alaskan fashion there may be a reality series in the works but he says some of the attention has been hurtful and damaging. He said anyone who may have given false information to the ABC Board will have to pay for that.