Reason.tv: The Great Philly Beer Bust or, Step Away From The Unlicensed Ale or I'll Shoot!


Back in March, the owners of Philadelphia's popular and upscale Memphis Tap Room found their place swarming with Pennsylvania state police searching for "unlicensed beer." As reported by the Philadelphia Daily News:

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

Reason.tv's Nick Gillespie recently sat down at the scene of the crime with the Tap Room's Hartranft to talk about the long reach of nanny state alcohol laws that just seem crazy, especially in the city that birthed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

The Great Philly Beer Bust shines a dark light on how capricious enforcement of stupid regulations undermines life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Or at least a perfectly chillded Monk's Cafe Sour Flemish Red Ale.

Approximately 7.30 minutes long. Shot by Dan Hayes and edited by Josh Swain.

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