Pa. Liquor Control Board engages in prohibition type stunts


PLCB has been raiding bars and restaurants who specialize in craft beers.

More than a dozen armed State Police officers conducted simultaneous raids last week on three popular Philadelphia bars known for their wide beer selections. The cops confiscated hundreds of bottles of expensive ales and lagers, now in State Police custody at an undisclosed location.

The alleged offense: Although the bar owners had bought the beer legally from licensed Pennsylvania distributors and had paid all the necessary taxes, the police claimed that nobody had registered the precise names of the beers with the state Liquor Control Board – a process that requires the brewers or their importers to pay a $75 registration fee for each product they want to sell in Pennsylvania.

Based on a complaint from someone the State Police refuse to identify, three teams of officers converged last Thursday on the three bars, run by Leigh Maida and her husband, Brendan Hartranft. Checking their inventories against the state’s official list of more than 2,800 brands, the cops seized four kegs and 317 bottles, totaling 60.9 gallons of beer, according to police calculations.

In fact, according to Maida, more than half the beer removed by the State Police was properly registered – but the cops couldn’t find it on their lists because of “clerical errors” or “blatant ineptitude” between the police and the Liquor Control Board, with whom the officers were conferring by telephone.

She estimated the total value of the confiscated stock at $7,200, representing about 20 brands, some of which go by multiple names.

For instance, the cops grabbed Monk’s Cafe Sour Flemish Red Ale.

The beer has been sold throughout the state at dozens of restaurants and distributors for the last seven years. The brand appears on the state’s online list as “Monk’s CafĂ© Ale.” It’s on tap seven days a week at the Center City bar after which it was named: Monk’s Cafe, at 16th and Spruce streets.

via Troopers raid popular bars for unlicensed beers: Dozens of gallons seized after ‘citizen complaint’ | Philadelphia Daily News | 03/08/2010.

It seems as if the PLCB policy is to punish bars for the PLCB’s inability to develop an accurate product registration system to support their regulations. Instead of levying fines and allowing the establishments to sell the beers, or enter disputes, they are confiscating inventory and killing the business bottom line.

One of bars raided is Resurrection Ale House which is 2 blocks from my house and is one of my favorite bars to grab some grub and some beers you haven’t heard of. The staff is friendly and the food is great and it pisses me off that policeman are being dispatched to these business when there are way more important things to worry about. Send a damn certified letter next time.