Flagging the LCB Over Beer Regulation
So my prediction from two weeks ago of a more lax Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board was about as accurate as a prediction of a mild winter this season. As many folks know, last week, the Liquor Control Board directed over a dozen State Police officers to raid three bars. The infraction? Not illicit drug dealing or serving minors or even selling after hours. Rather, it was because the bars allegedly had “unregistered” beers, and the officers were to confiscate the beer.
Mind you, it wasn’t because the proprietors, who are the owners of all three bars, purchased illegal beer. Instead, it was because at least some of the beer, which was purchased legally from legal distributors and importers, had not been registered by the distributors and importers with the state. It’s essentially like being punished for someone else’s mistakes or omissions. That’s all good and well, but in at least a couple of examples, such as Duvel Belgian Golden Ale and Monk’s Cafe Sour Flemish Ale, the beers are listed down by the LCB under inaccurate names and yet were still seized. Subsequently, the State Police raided beverage distributors to similarly confiscate “unregistered” beer.
Like a lot of young lawyers, I patronize Philadelphia bars and partake in some beers. Philadelphia has a growing reputation as a city with excellent bars serving sophisticated beers. These types of actions by the LCB do not help tourism or the city. With any luck, these and other fine establishments won’t be hurt too much, and it’s up to folks to continue to go to these bars and support them. That and push for a major reform of the LCB.