Keystone Light Kops in The Keystone State

Reader inkfarm sends this dispatch from the frontlines of The War Against Beer in the City of Brotherly Love:

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.

More here. Amateur gumshoes, take note: I'm betting that the informant is a disgruntled employee or patron of the Maida-Hartranft bars.

Reason.tv checked in on the microbrew revolution. Here's what we found.

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  • ||

    Based on a complaint from someone a competitor the State Police refuse to identify ...


    Bet on it.

    I could use a good laugh, tell me again how states have cut their budgets to the bone.

  • ||

    Maybe a competitor with political and/or police connections.

    Whomever, had a hardon for the owners. I bet most popular bars serve some of the same unregistered beers. If this was a legit investigation, more than one bar owner would be raided.

    Maybe these people pissed off a politician.

  • ||

    Certainly none of us cops would stoop so low as to call this in. We did have to empty all the bottles and kegs though, to make sure it was really beer in there.

  • Rimfax||

    I'm betting that the informant is a disgruntled employee or patron of the Maida-Hartranft bars.

    ...or a competitor?

  • ||

    The cops confiscated hundreds of bottles of expensive ales and lagers, now in State Police custody at an undisclosed location.

    PAAAAAARRTAAAAAAYYYY!!!

  • ||

    Don't take our criticisms too harshly, poor government. Your usual gangs of sycophants will be here to soon to sooth your asshole into a gentle sleep with their well-worn tongues.

  • ||

    The barowners bought and paid taxes on all the seized product, which is what is really messed up. Even if this unregistered beer, some of which I have in my house, is such an awful threat to society, we aren't the distributers the ones being targeted? This is the most ridiculous use of government power I have seen in my lifetime. I'm embarrassed to be a Pennsylvanian today.

  • TXLimey||

    Unregistered beer in your house? A SWAT team has been dispatched. Please lay on the floor with your hands on your head until they arrive.

  • Yar||

    If you have any dogs, cats, ferrets, gerbils or other pets, please also shoot them as a precautionary measure for the protection of our officers.

  • creech||

    Just today???

  • AlmightyJB||

    "how states have cut their budget to the bone"

    Yeah no kidding. We recently had one of those infamous dwi checkpoint nights here in Columbus. Where I live there were no less then 3 on the same road on a 5 mile stretch. But they needed a tax increase or they were going to have to lay off cops cause their so stretched. aaargh! As far as raiding bars and stealing their beer. 8I would think that would be cause to kick Pennsylvania out of the union.

  • ||

    Uhm, how are they going to pay for those DWI checkpoints without raising taxes? You certainly can't expect the gub'mint to change its plans just because it doesn't have the money to cover them.

  • ||

    Wow, Micro Breweries like totally rock.

    Jess
    www.total-anonymity.us.tc

  • ||

    Pennsylvania: where there is a "state minimum" price for MILK.

    Fuck you, Pennsylvania.

  • ||

    Can we get a big fuck you for Maryland too? We have a law that prohibits selling gasoline at "too low" of a price.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Keystone Light Kops.
    Good one.

  • ¢||

    I'm betting that the informant is a disgruntled employee or patron of the Maida-Hartranft bars.

    You're a gamer, Jacket. The board says that's 10:1.

    2:1 - There was no complaint at all, vice-raid style.

    1:1 - There was no official complaint, but one came in, from a friend of someone on the Liquor Control Board...

    1:2 - ...or of a cop...

    1:1.5 - ...a friend who owns a nearby bar.

  • ||

    looks like someone did not make their payment on time...

    although they should be happy no one got shot

  • Citizen Nothing||

    That's why you never walk into a bar with a dog, unless you're setting up a punchline.

  • ||

    Man. If I ever go to Philadelphia, I will feel so safe that these stupid pigs are keeping me safe from unregistered beer.

    Fuck you Pennsylvania.

    BTW, I remember your stupid fucking road signs that bragged about "it is still 55 MPH in Penn." YOu stupid fucks. It is like bragging that you still burn witches.

    Fuck Pennsylvania

  • ||

    P Brooks,

    Well, the milk market throughout the U.S. very heavily regulated, with all manner of price supports, etc. It really is one of the final holdovers of the vile policies of the FDR administration.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    Let me add that Pennsylvania has a tight beer oligopoly, and you can usually only buy 6-packs at bars. Any other time you want beer, you have to go to a beer distributor and buy a whole case.

    Note that Ohio, the state next door, has six-packs and bottles of wine in friggin' 7-11s, and civilization hasn't collapsed.

  • Joshua||

    Arizona has beer, wine, hard liquor in 7-11s and civilization hasn't... well they DO keep re-electing John McCain, so never mind.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    In Ohio, our rulers understand that keeping the rest of us drunk is probably a good idea for them.

  • robc||

    Which is the same reason Louisville started allowing Sunday sales.

  • Nephilium||

    However, we can only buy beer up to 13% here in Ohio. We have to go to a neighboring state for the really strong stuff.

  • ||

    Thought the restriction was 12% in Ohio... either way, living in a neighboring state now, and enjoying the fact that there's some of the best microbreweries on Earth within driving distance of here (and one within local bus routes).

  • Spartacus||

    Dude, this sucks! I'm SO glad I live in Florida where we, um, ...

    Nevermind.

  • ||

    We have a beer problem?

  • robc||

    You do. From what I can tell very few of the good breweries distribute there. I figure it has to be the laws.

  • ||

    Really? Seems like any beer I want is available. We even have a good number of microbreweries. Then again, my beer consumption days are mostly behind me, so I'm not the best observer of such things.

  • ed||

    Here in the land of sunshine and 12% unemployment I can now get booze at 7 AM on Sunday. It helps.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    my beer consumption days are mostly behind me
    This is one of the saddest things I've ever read.

  • ||

    Agreed.

  • ||

    I tend to feel crappier after drinking in my middle years. So I do much less of it.

  • The Art-P.O.G.||

    That's why you have to be constantly drunk. Duh.

  • ||

    I actually believe that. I have friends that are still partying strong, twenty years later.

  • Kant feel Pietzsche||

    Not true. Beer is for drinking with certain meals. Too many good wines and whiskeys to waste brain cells on the suds.

  • ||

    Let's face it, Every state has it's own fuckups. Let's see how many we can name.

    My home state of NY elected Schumer, Hillary, Spitzer...geez naming stupid politicians could get lengthy. Let's try this again.

    My home state of NY banned trans fats in NYC and Albany and has oppressive gun laws.

  • ||

    On what grounds can the cops refuse to identify the complainant?

    It had to be a competitor - who else would even know about this obscure rule that they allegedly broke. A patron? No way. Some bartended they fired? Highly unlikely.

  • ||

    I'm going with
    1:1 - There was no official complaint, but one came in, from a friend of someone on the Liquor Control Board...

  • Mo||

    A patron isn't hard to believe. I'd put money on an off duty officer that was treated shabbily by the owners for being a douche nozzle or Gropey McHandserson.

  • ||

    Could be a competitor but I think it's someone else that has an issue with the owners. The grudge could be unrelated to the bar business.

  • robc||

    On the general topic of beer, the Brewers Association just realease there craft beer statistics for 2009.

    So InBev/Molson/SAB, how is that buying American breweries thing working out for you?

  • robc||

    "released their"

    Really, referring to the other thread, I did pass my college english courses. I did get a B in high school typing.

  • Thom||

    It's too bad they didn't teach you any manners in those fancy college English courses. Not very sporting to criticize minor grammatical or spelling mistakes on the intertubes fella'. They happen to the best of us.

  • ||

    Do we have a consensus that whomever the complainant is, he/she is one vindictive son of a bitch?

    This wasn't a complaint about the beer, other bars would have been raided.

  • ||

    Stop me if you've heard this already: So 14 heavily armed cops walk into a bar....

  • ||

    Does it end with them assualting a priest and a rabbi?

  • ||

    Since this is a beer thread and Delaware used to be the lower three counties of PA, I put in a plug for a brewery I toured a few weeks ago.

    http://twinlakesbrewingcompany.com/brew/our-beers/

    Damn good beer!

  • ||

    Since this is a beer thread and Delaware used to be the lower three counties of PA, I put in a plug for a brewery I toured a few weeks ago.

    http://twinlakesbrewingcompany.com/brew/our-beers/

    Damn good beer!

  • ||

    Whoops, sorry for the double post.

  • ||

    They had to call Super Troopers for consultation on this.

  • Solanum||

    I'd like to see the pigs try that shit at Paddy's Pub.

  • PhillyToph||

    I live in the Port Richmond section of Philly, home to one of the raided bars - the Memphis Taproom. It is a good bar, with an awesome selection. Philly is becoming/has been a great beer city, but this is one of the few bars in my neighborhood that sells uncommon brews.

    The list of registered beers (available online) doesn't include some common PA beers, such as Yuengling Black & Tan, sold at many bars in the city.

    Our state rep has voiced his consternation with these raids, calling them ridiculous. I sent him a note letting him know that his constituents support him in this. (At least, some of us!).

  • ||

    Does it end with them assualting a priest and a rabbi?

    The damned Indian chief must have snitched!

  • ||

    Why are they doing armed raids for paperwork issues? I'm sure some bureaucrat can better determine if proper registration was done than a cop.

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