Wow, I didn’t know any micro brewer in the US had a mash filter. Alaskan also states that they are the first and there is a reason for that. For one, those filters are more expensive than mash tuns and more complicated to maintain. From what I read, and it may only apply to older models, there is more tannin extraction with the pulverized grist that commonly used with these systems.
In the Brewing Network discussion, they do mention that it was expensive, but they are saving something like 400,000lbs of grain a year and a million gallons of water per year as a result of the increased efficiency of this machine. I'm guessing it would pay for itself VERY quickly with those kind of savings.
As others have said, they did it primarily to save in the cost and hassle of drying their grains after brewing. They don't have anywhere locally to dispose of them, so they have to ship them off of the island.
Finally, they did address the tannin extraction/flavor issue. They basically said they did extensive testing with a demo model of the machine, and no one could tell any difference in the finished beer.
Sounds pretty awesome to me.