Beer Bust in Philly, Unregistered Gourmet Brews Confiscated


a terrible fate for beer

Beer raids in Philly:

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.

Pennsylvania law requires that all varieties of beer sold in the state be registered with the Liquor Control Board. The registration, which costs $75 per product, is the responsibility of the brewers or importers.

The bars that were raided had bought the beer from licensed distributors, and had no reason to think they had done anything wrong until liquor control agents showed up. In fact, while there were some real violations, much of the beer was even properly registered, just under a variation on the same name. "Monk's Cafe Sour Flemish Red Ale" was confiscated, for instance, even though "Monk's Café Ale" was on the list.

Industry sources complain that brand registration is typical of the onerous regulations that make selling beer in Pennsylvania difficult. For example, while it is the responsibility of the brewer or importer to submit the necessary paperwork and registration fee, it is the tavern or restaurant licensee who may be liable for selling unregistered brands, they said.

Registration is further complicated by the growth of under-the-radar one-offs: unique, limited-production, highly sought-after draft beers that appear briefly—perhaps as quickly as an hour—on tavern taps. While they pay the necessary state and federal taxes, breweries sometimes do not bother to register the brands because they are produced in extremely small amounts.

State police won't say who tipped them off the the obscure infraction, only that it was "a citizen complaint." The beer is expected to sit around for 6 to 8 months, possibly skunkifying, while the the bar owners go through the process to get their suds back.

Via alert commenter sage.

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  1. Sounds like the state police were planning a barbeque and didn’t want to pay for beer.

    1. My first thought, as well.

  2. Those bureaucrats should let me “rent” the beer, as the saying goes. They can drink it after I “give it back.”

    1. That’s not what I meant by giving back to the community, Brian.

      1. So, you are saying beggars can be choosers, Mr. President?

        1. Worked for me, didn’t it? I only had to work in the private sector behind enemy lines briefly in My career, y’know.

  3. “We’re going to need to confiscate all of this beer. Also, some potato chips. And two orders of buffalo wings. The law definitely requires us to confiscate some wings.”

    1. These onion rings… they might be beer-battered. Can’t take any chances. Run these to the lab for snac- er, analysis, Clancy!

      1. Meanwhile, Ness and his Untouchables head for a speakeasy in Berwyn!

  4. “It doesn’t matter where the complaint is coming from,” he said. “If there is merit to the complaint, we have to follow through with it. .

    Yeah… that sounds like it came from a competitor.

    1. Of course it did. What civilian would even know they had to be registered? Or what types weren’t registered? Bar owners are constantly ratting each other out for whatever they can cause they are so heavily regulated. I’ve heard of bar owners ratting other owners out for bringing personal cable boxes to the bar so they could avoid the large commercial PPV fees.

      1. avoid the large commercial PPV fees

        And there’s reason #1 to offer local bands free beer in exchange for entertainment

        ….WHO AM I KIDDING?! There’s definitely a regulation against that too.

  5. Now THIS is the sort of thing our government needs to be involved in: Protecting the citizenry from the dire menace of unregistered beer names. No door in PA should go un-stoved until we can make absolutely sure not a drop of beer is consumed that Harrisburg cannot name. Well done, Keystone Koppers.

    1. But it’s a free country, right??? Only a racist tea bagger would call this tyranny. It’s only beer after all – that and every other conceivable thing people could engage in commerce with.

      1. Most beer is consumed by white people.

        Not sure of that statistic, but it’s probably the argument a liberal would use.

        1. Confiscating malt liquor, on the other hand…

          1. That’s racist!

        2. Most beer is consumed by white people.

          It’s ironic that your post lines up perfectly with the Lagunitas IPA ad, TLG.

          1. Or maybe, Groovus, it’s all part of the White Guy Keepin’ His Foot on the Neck Conspiracy…

  6. There should be a rule, that if the state violates your rights, you can elect for either a monetary judgment or the right to kick the cop that did it in the nads. If the cop was acting under orders, whoever issued the order would have to stand in for him, all the way to the Governor.

    1. If it’s a lady, do you get to do an ovariectomy on her without anesthesia?

      1. I thought the boobpunch was the feminine equivalent of the nutslam?

  7. Not to be a quibbler, but the linked article, published almost two months ago, was already blogged a bit by other fine members of the Reason staff.

    1. I recall that link was posted originally in Morning Links comments, and at the time the linked article included a Adobe trojan. (Seems okay, now.)

      1. Wow, Adobe makes trojans now? Does that mean I can’t “finish” without paying a 200$ licensing fee?


        1. Does that mean I can’t “finish” without paying a 200$ licensing fee?

          I had a night like that once…

      2. I got an Adobe trojan once. Walked with a limp for a good week afterward.

        1. At least you didn’t get a Cleveland Steamer in the deal…

          1. Hey, don’t knock the Cleveland Steamer. How do you think I keep my writing gig?

            1. He’s telling the truth. And he gives AND receives!

    2. And I thought I was psycic or having deja vu or something…too lazy to check.


    3. Quibble by Nobody, assist to Scotticus.

      1. Not to be a quibbler, but it’s ‘nobody’.

        1. Not to be a quibbler, but here in the U.S. periods (.) and commas (,) go inside quotation marks.

          1. The rules on that aren’t as strong as you think. Besides, we’re talking about English! People can change the spelling of words just by publishing a dictionary in a new country!

          2. But it’s wrong to do so. I, for one, demand the rule be changed! Punctuation should go on the outside, unless the punctuation is part of what you’re quoting, dammit.

          3. Mangling quoted literals without notice out of some misplaced belief that it makes better typography is the mark of a sick, sick mind.

            The style guides are slow to respond, of course, but real life is slowly getting better about this.

          4. Wrong. Punctuation should go where it makes sense for it to go. If the quote is contained within a sentence, the period should go outside.

    4. Well my blog post on that is dated March 8th.


      But I’ll say that news of that kind needs to be repeated.

      1. Oh I agree. It just sounded from the article excerpt that KMW quoted that this happened ‘last week’. I was surprised that I hadn’t heard it was happening again, but then I realized that the article was the same one from two months ago.

        And yes, PA is a total disaster. Only a few miles away from the location of the Philly beer raids school administrators in Lower Merion were spying on students with laptop cameras.

        But I really can’t say much. I moved from West Philly to New Jersey. I live two miles from Camden. Blah.

        1. I’m sorry. I’ve heard nothing but bad things about Camden. I hope to visit there never.

          1. There’s a Camden neighborhood in Minneapolis. I live there. When people ask us what part of Minneapolis we reside in we tell them the Shooting District.

            Must be something about the name Camden.

        2. Can’t be worse than Trenton. Or Newark. Or Paterson (where I was born).

          1. That in itself is a legitimate reason to wipe NJ off the face off of the World Google Map(tm), the state that spawned thee.

            Jersey Shore runs a very close second. May you breed a line of greasy, Romanesque, Rubenesque, Snooki-fied Ferris Bueller-ettes with your usual underage burnt, scabby, dermasclerotic cellar dwellers.

            1. Dude, even I can’t handle that fucking show, and I know people like that. I grew up in Connecticut, anyway. I talk just like Thurston Howell III.

              1. There are treatments for that particular ailment. Even with your fine upbringing, the cellar dweller comment stands. Even if you opt for the eunicky “snip snip”.

                1. I’m fine with the trash, dude. But no fatties. Unlike you, chubby chaser.

                  1. And the thread comes full circle…women of large deportment and constitution require affection too. I take it you haven’t seen Giada lately. And Ashley Grahams needs love too.

                    The morbidly obese are left for Warty to feast upon.

                    1. “Fat chicks need love too…but they gotta pay.”

                  2. Hey, I’m a chubby chaser!

                    Um, we ARE talking about the same thing, right?

                    1. I was wondering the same thing, Tony…

              2. Thurston Howell 3’s voice is just that of the Little Old Winemaker after he drank all that wine.

          2. Oh yes Camden can be worse than Trenton, Newark and Paterson. Imagine Beirut during its worst times, without the gentle ocean breezes, and you have Camden

            1. Or Detroit.

  8. Someday people will sit with their grandchildren and recount the time when one could ogle the pulchritude on a can of Olde Frothingslosh.

    I don’t know who would do them in more quickly today, the content policy (you weightists!) or the Beer Name Enforcement Shocktroops.

  9. grr. That should read “police.” Such is the technological advance of typing on a phone.

    1. Time to step…away…from the phone.

  10. Pennsylvania is a shithole.

    Avoid it.

  11. In the wake of this raid, Lew Bryson did a great post on why beer registration is completely retarded over at his Why The PLCB Should Be Abolished blog. It’s also worth noting that the general consensus in the Philly beer community is that it was another bar that tipped off the cops.

    1. Which makes me ask, “Where is the reprisal raid?”

      Please don’t tell me that these guys were classy enough to not drop the dime on their competitors.

      I expect the same vicious circle of mutual assured destruction that goes on when Bama drops the dime on Auburn, who then drops the dime on Bama who then … well you get the idea.

      1. Such anti-government blogs are on our shit lists, Jimbo. Count on it.

        1. Y’wan’ I should have ’em whacked wit extreme prejudice, Cass?

      2. I expect the same vicious circle of mutual assured destruction that goes on when Bama drops the dime on Auburn, who then drops the dime on Bama who then … well you get the idea.

        I’ve just had a vision of someone in the—say U. Tenn.—coaching staff having a meeting with a NCAA staffer under that bigass stadium they’ve got in Knoxville.




        NCAA: BUT, WHY?


        NCAA: WHAT THIS?


        [FADE TO BLACK]

        ‘Course I might be wrong. It might be LSU.

  12. So if Harrisburg really does go bankrupt, will that help?

    1. Fuck, even Lancaster is bigger than Harrisburg. So no.

  13. Apparently it takes over a dozen ARMED cops to confiscate beer not on the right list?

    What. The. Fuck.

    Statist simply don’t get it. They clamor on about the so-called violence of the right wing, but are complicit in the ACTUAL violence perpetrated by the state.


    1. Excellent points. Whatever happened to showing up with a clipboard and taking some notes. The health inspector performs a much more vital (and potentially damaging to the restaurateur) job aided by nothing more than a pencil and a code book.

      1. And the retailers aren’t even the ones responsible for the registration, how the fuck are they the ones liable for unregistered beers?! If anything, they should be showing up with the clipboards and the $75 fee per unregistered beer at THE FUCKING PLACE THAT WAS FUCKING RESPONSIBLE FOR MUTHAFUCKING REGISTERING THEM.


    2. because it’s fun to conduct armed raids when you know the target will not resist with violence. I really think it’s that simple.

      1. That seems the only reason which makes any sense in a rational world. Anything else is from fucking la la land.

        1. So what we need is a national version of the texas law that allows you to act in selfdefense against agents of the state who are unlawfully trying to harm you.

    1. I’m dumb at internet, so here’s the link –…..SURE_.html

      1. Around here that is called “SugarFreeing” the link, after a certain twisted poster who happens to have BOTH a natural insulin deficiency and an uncanny ability to fuck up html tags.

      2. I didn’t even know about the Philly abortion story until I read this threadjack. Many thanks!

        But you guys should really stick to the topic of the main post. 🙂

    2. Between September 2006 and March 31, Schwarz said, 335 minors under DHS care became pregnant. Of those, 119 resulted in abortions. Of those abortions, 54 were done by judge’s order.

      Eight of the abortions were performed out of state, Schwarz said.

      Although federal and state law forbid the use of federal or state money for abortions, and DHS is a recipient of state and federal aid, that money is not used to pay for abortions, Schwarz said.

      He said that money only from the city budget is used to pay for the procedures.

      I was in such a hurry to dog SF that I didn’t read the article.

      Wow, minors. Abortion by a judges orders AND they even take them out of the State?!

      1. Government always knows what’s best for your health care decisions, doesn’t it?

        1. No. No it doesn’t.

          1. Oh, no, you di’int!

            1. Yeah, I went there. And I packed a high fat, high protein, freshly slaughtered bovine lunch, packed with trans-fats! And HFCS! I even had an after lunch smoke!

              Whatcha gonna do?

              1. Come on, Doc, do you really smoke?

                1. Yes. Bad habit I picked up in undergrad. Marlboro Reds are one of my few vices.

                  1. The other vices are hookers and blow, right? Just like me.

                    1. Hookers? Nah, I’m a romantic. I wouldn’t rule out pulling a Spitzer, but as you said once “Hope springs eternal in some people.” Never tried blow, just don’t have the desire. NTTATWWT.

                      The day I’m like you Epi-dural, I will gouge out my eyeballs and skull fuck myself.

                    2. Dude, you better get out the fork and lube up those eye sockets, then. I AM YOU.

                    3. Bullshit, I’m white on the right side.

                    4. “I fail to see the significant difference.”

                    5. “You useless pieces of bland flesh”

                    6. Y’know, Episarch’s post reminded me of this one time, Larry King and I were snorting coke from the bellybutton of a Polynesian hooker. I’d just opened a bag of Dorito’s, and was so pissed about the amount of air in the bag and not being able to open it without chips flying all over the carpet, that I wound up killing the Polynesian hooker, and Larry got all freaked out because he’d also snorted some ground-up zoo-quality tranquilizers… so we wound up having to hide the body by dropping it from Paul Krugman’s helicopter into the ocean.

                      Where was I again?

              2. We’re taking you in for questioning, Groovus. Orders from Her Highness.

                1. Lies! Lies! I don’t own a helicopter!

                  Um, that part’s a lie, at least. That WAS some good coke, though.

                  1. At least I got to fuck her before they ditched the body. Didn’t get any of that supposed coke, though. Cheap bastards only left me some nacho chips on the floor.

                    1. I once gave Angie Dickinson the ol’ three-hole punch, back in the Seventies…

                    2. Last time I was on your show, you told me she gave you a blumpkin.

                      And I never did get any of those Doritos.

                    3. [insert all-caps Steve Smith reference here]

      2. This is what happens when minors are placed under the care of the Department of Homeland Security.

        One can only imagine how often Ms. Napolitano kicks the TSA officers with the wire coat hangers off the assembly line so she can personally apply the abortions herself.

      3. He said that money only from the city budget is used to pay for the procedures.

        Money, of course, is fungible.

    3. That’s not even the worst Philly abortion story. Your town really sucks when there is a competitor for “worst abortion story.”

      Couple months back the cops closed down an abortion clinic in West Philly where the doc had bloodstained floors, jars packed with fetus remains and unlicensed employees treating abortion patients. Two patients died of complications related to abortions they had in the office.…..apers.html

      Keep it real, Philly!

  14. I have to ask the question I always asked: violation or not, who turned them in?

    1. It was an anonymous tip (well, sort of . . . the identity of the tipster is known to the police, but they’re keeping it confidential). As I noted in a comment above, the word on the street in Philly is that another bar owner tipped off the state cops though I’ve never heard speculation as to who exactly it was.

      1. Right, the whole “we have a right to confront those who accuse us” is so yesterday.

        1. I’m sure it was done to protect the life and limb of the accuser from the wrath and ire of the accused.


    2. Yes, at times like this, I always have to ask: quo vadis?

      1. “Quo vadis” = “Where are you going”

  15. Holy smokes man leave them beer makers alone dude.


  16. State police won’t say who tipped them off the the obscure infraction, only that it was “a citizen complaint.”

    This must be a typo. The first two words have been swapped.

    1. Heh heh!




      Never been to Milwaukee?

    2. You know I was just reading a story that fake-titted Hollywood actresses are losing roles to natural breasted woman. Fake titties are so 2000.

      1. If I can touch ’em… they’re real.

        1. “But I ain’t got twenty bucks!”

      2. Good. Fake tits are an abomination.

        1. +the US Federal Deficit

  18. Thank God the cops are RIGHT THERE to confiscate the unregistered beer. Yep – if there’s a legitimate complaint, ya just gotta “investigate”. And “confiscate”. That’s why our politards “legislate”.

    This country’s going gone to hell.

    1. It’s surprising they didn’t call Janet Napolitano away from the oil spill to handle this personally. Obviously, a beer and present danger was averted.

      1. No it wasn’t. That shitty attempt at humor was clearly more harmful than any non-listed beer being sold.

        1. I take offense at that. And I have the power to fuck your life up but good, Mr. “bluegrass”.

          Hope you don’t need to fly commercial airlines ever again. Consider yourself on the super-secret watch list.

  19. Of those abortions, 54 were done by judge’s order.

    Oliver Wendell Holmes would be proud.

    1. As would Margaret Sanger.

  20. I wonder what sort of “terror-induced” hysteria Chris Matthews is engaging in, today. And how many times he has had to change his depends.

    1. I’m having to clean jizz out of my pants as we speak!

      By the way, does anyone have Andy Rooney’s number?

  21. The beer is expected to sit around for 6 to 8 months, possibly skunkifying, while the the bar owners go through the process to get their suds back.

    If I’m not mistaken, thats longer than the shelf life of most beer; particularly small craft brews which spoil faster. e.g.…..-beer.aspx

    “A general rule of thumb is that beers from large breweries will have a shelf life of approximately 8 to 12 months **if refrigerated properly** and kept from direct light, or 4 to 6 months at room temperature”

    In any case, the whole fiasco is ridiculous. A quote from the article:

    …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.

    ….”My main beef with this whole convoluted situation is that the PLCB is the sole regulator of a set of products that they do not even know the names of,” she said.

    1. I’ve heard of washing machines with a suds return feature. Maybe they need one of those.

    2. You aren’t mistaken, properly stored most liquid bread is at it’s best for around 3 months from the time it first becomes ready for drinking. It’s really hard to imagine the authorities are going to store it properly. And customers purchasing from establishments don’t pay premium prices for sub-standard product.

      Sure there are people out there who would happily drink urine from an old work boot if they were told it was beer, but they’re seldom the type who pay for their own beer, and certainly not ones to pay premium prices.

      1. You’re making the silly assumption that this beer will still exist past 5/31.

        Beer bust a month before Memorial Day? Just a coincidence. Nothin to see here…

        1. *and then the part about “this story is from 2 months ago” from further up the thread starts to sink-in*

          President’s day bash? Maybe the cops had a SpringBreak party?

  22. It’s seems reasonable to assume the imprisoned brews are real living beers and not the mass produced failed chemistry experiment swill often sold here as “beer.” If that’s the case most will likely expire before their releases can be won, especially if they’re imprisoned in a hostile environment, like an old truck trailer sitting in an impound lot that will soon be baking the sun each day, for example.

    While some brews improve with considerable aging under proper conditions, they are certainly the exception and seldom ones I care for. most are like bread and need to be consumed within their finite window of opportunity. Miss that window and they’re only good for serving to guests of the variety that leave full opened bottles of your good stuff sitting on the bar when they leave.

    By incarcerating the confiscated beverages awaiting trial for all practical purposes they may just as well have sentenced them to death outright.

    Is it tyranny yet?

    1. The Green Hops Mile…(wipes away tear)

  23. PA has a horrible government liquor monopoly. low selection, uniform high prices. their beer regulations are insane. finally places like sheetz, wegmans, and weis are being allowed to sell beer and beer can be sold on Sundays.
    is there any movement for ending the PA government monopoly and prohibitionist/statist regulations on alcohol? if there isn’t, there should be.

    1. If it’s true another establishment blew the whistle it’s just another valid example why government has no business in our lives on the scale in which it is. Once government becomes so entangled into our private affairs it often is used as a weapon by unscrupulous slime wads to destroy their competition. Without that weapon they would have no choice except to openly compete or shut up and take it. Doing it the way we are only hurts the consumer in many ways not the least of which are reduced selection, lower quality, and higher costs

      1. +100

    2. Um, Hacha, is your Google broken?…..ycott+plcb

      That took me about 6.5 seconds to type, copypasta and post.

  24. Now THAT is Alcohol abuse!!

    1. are you trying to steal Lou’s job?

  25. Um, this story is a couple months old and is basically a rewording of all the local articles on the matter. Also, why on Earth didn’t you mention that local alcohol writer Lew Bryson has been spearheading a movement to abolish the PLCB and rewrite the liquor code? This would have taken all of 30 seconds of searching on Facebook or Google and, frankly, it’s disappointing to see such a lack of detail here.

    Maybe this story got the crappy treatment it did because it wasn’t typical Reasonoid ad nauseum bitching about the zomg! liberal media calling teabaggers racists! ZOMG! Because, really, bitching about the treatment neo-cons receive in the media is so appropriate for a LIBERTARIAN magazine. Jesus tap dancing Christ.

    For those of you who would have liked more content, here’s some shit that Lew Bryson has been getting together: (Lew’s site)

    1. This is a blog post, not an in depth investigative report.

  26. I lived in west Philly during the late 80s while I went to Drexel. During that you were lucky not to have your apartment broken into weekly or get mugged and I have heard that things haven’t improved since then. I’m glad to hear that the police are more worried about unregistered beers than violent crime.

  27. For the record, the Monk’s Cafe Sour Flemish Red Ale (or Monk’s Cafe Ale) is an outstanding beer, brewed especially for Monk’s by a Belgian Monastery.

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

    Check out the local moose lodge.


    In 2010? Really? In a complaint about substance at that?

  29. PA = a shithole of a state.

    Government employees = cunts.

    The bar owners who didn’t shoot the cunts when they came to pry the beer from their hands = pussies.

    1. You forgot “retarded fetuses” in there somewhere JB. You are definitely slipping.

    2. Because it’s worth dying over isn’t it.

      Sadly, statism succedes because they take it in little steps that never seem worth dying over. Besides, the oppressed would just be “violent right-wing nutjobs” if they’d taken up arms to defend their property. Also, unregistered beer is one thing….going to jail for the rest of you life for shooting a cop is another.

      Face it guys, it’s too late. Lube up your ass, put the yoke on in such a way that the boots don’t hurt your neck as much, and live with it.

      Better yet, find a way to be in a position of authority! Then you get to be the one doing the jackbooting, it’s a great gig!

  30. Welcome back to the 1930s. What’s next, concentration camps for Japanese Americans?


    1. Nah. But Latino/Hispanic/Mexicano camps….who knows?

  31. Anheiser-Busch strikes again…

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