Felony Charge for Selling a Wisconsin Beer In Minnesota: Americans, This is Where We Live


Complete f-ing insanity from the outskirts of the Land of the Free, as reported by Minnesota Star-Tribune, about a former pair of publicans from Minnesota who will be going to court in March facing felony charges for selling Spotted Cow beer at the Maple Tavern in Maple Grove, Minnesota.

The former owner and manager (the bar is under new management now with a new liquor license) Brandon Hlavka and David Lantos face a felony charge for transporting alcohol into Minnesota for resale without the requisite license to do that. 

The beer, New Glaurus Spotted Cow, is from Wisconsin and since its manfacturer is not licensed to sell in Minnesota, it is against the law to sell it in the state.

The barmen bought some kegs of it retail in Wisconsin and moved it across state lines to sell to their microbrew-thirsty customers.

America has an unnamed "anonymous tipster" to Wisconsin's Department of Revenue, who then squealed to Minnesota's Department of Public Safety, to thank for this most American of felony prosecutions. Take a bow, you anonymous patriot! 

As City Pages reports, agents went in and were served the illegal beer, before they then seized three kegs and the prosecution began.

A New York bar faced the same nonsensical prosecution over the same beer in 2009.

Jesse Walker on the craft beer revolution, not yet gone far enough.

NEXT: You've Got to Fight! For Your Right! To Green Bean Casserole!

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  1. This is a situation where Congress’s Commerce Clause powers could be properly applied.

    1. So they could face federal felony charges?

      1. No, as a means to challenge state licensing laws which inhibit commerce between states.

        1. It’s so cute how you think that the Feds would ever apply the Commerce Clause to DECREASE inhibitions on commerce.

          1. Actually, that WAS the original intent of the Commerce Clause, although no Congresscritters today seem to realize it – to regulate was to “regularize” commerce among the states. How come the meaning of “well-regulated” is endlessly debated with regard to the Second Amendment, but the meaning of “regulate” in the Commerce Clause isn’t? It couldn’t have meant to the Founders’ generation what it seems to mean today – if it had, the anti-Federalists of the day would have attacked the Commerce Clause vigorously. But they didn’t, they mostly attacked the “necessary and proper” clause, and ignored the Commerce Clause as something seemingly innocuous; you have to wonder why. Anyway, it wouldn’t help in this case, because as Lee G points out, the 21st amendment explicitly allows states to do things like this.


              Suggestion for fending off piggy-wiggies in such cases:

              Guard yourself (harmless bar-beer or similar) from Government Almighty’s Wrath, by doing the following: Find the oaths and rituals of the State of Minnesota (in this case), and of the Feds, and have them ready. Now, set up a video camera and an off-site storage space for video footage (so that Government Almighty may not confiscate your data). See the following web site:…..d-the-cops … Which I will now excerpt from: “Qik and UStream, two services available for both the iPhone and Android phones, allow instant online video streaming and archiving. Once you stop recording, the video is instantly saved online. Both services also allow you to send out a mass email or notice to your Twitter followers when you have posted a new video from your phone. Not only will your video of police misconduct be preserved, but so will the video of the police officer illegally confiscating your phone (assuming you continue recording until that point).”

              1. and that is?
                Then, before they can buy ANY “forbidden” beer, require ALL of your new customers, in front of said camera, to swear up and down on a stack of Bibles or on their mother’s grave or whatever sacred rituals they do in court these days? Have them SWEAR they are practicing their religious freedoms to buy beer to be turned into Jesus’s blood (or other deity’s blood, after they do a secret inward religious ritual), and that they are NOT agents of Government Almighty! Then when they haul you up on charges, have your lawyer trot out said video of Government Almighty jack-booted thugs, and ask the jury. “Now, just exactly WHY should you believe this person’s testimony?”
                That’s a mile-wide invitation for any juror to practice “jury nullification”, if you will, with a three-mile-wide excuse or cover!

        2. That’s a novel interpretation of that clause. I had always assumed the meaning was always: Congress can do whatever the hell it wants, nullifying the entire rest of this document. IE, the traditional interpretation of it.

          1. Geez, y’all, I’m just trying to be optimistic!

            1. There’s no place for that shit here!

        3. The 21st Amendment gives the states latitude to do as they will in this case. 10th Amendment be damned.

          The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

          1. The constitution, even strictly interpreted, still allows for many terrible laws, especially at the state level.

          2. Good catch. God dammit.

          3. No, these parts of the Const. must stand co-equal, since neither contradicts the other. It doesn’t say “…is hereby prohibited notwithstanding other provisions of this Constitution“, does it? No more than the 16th Amendment voids other taxing provisions of the Constitution where no contradiction between them exists.

  2. the outskirts of the Land of the Free,


    1. Sounds like we’re freer than you guys.

    2. Somalia?

    3. the outskirts of the Land of the Free,

      Space. The correct answer is space.

    1. Nobody needs a keg of beer.

      1. We’re just talking about common sense restrictions.

  3. America has an unnamed “anonymous tipster” to Wisconsin’s Department of Revenue, who then squealed to Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety,

    Anonymous complaints against private businesses or citizens should be ashcanned. You only need anonmity to protect you against government retaliation, so I would allow anonymous complaints against the pubsec.

    New Glarus was an excellent brewery last time I was in Wisconsin and drinking their stuff. Their Belgian-style cherry beer is divine.

    1. This Chicagoan plans Saturday road-trips specifically around the 4-ish-hour drive to their brewery and excellent dog-friendly beer garden. Nothing finer than the sound of six or eight cases’ worth of bottles clinking in the back of the car. For what it’s worth, there’s also an old-school butcher shop in the town of New Glarus that sells bratwurst that are worth loading up the cooler. To top it all off, I always make damn sure to stock up on ammo while I’m in the Badger State, and smile contentedly at the boatload of felonies I committed just by driving across an imaginary line on the way home.

  4. “Be thankful we didn’t give you the Eric Garner treatment, peasant.”

  5. The worst person in the Bible, Judas, was a rat and now we hold it up as a virtue. God bless the USA.

    1. That’s not the only interpretation of Judas’ story.

      1. So you’re saying this anonymous tipster was just fulfilling the divine plans of the state?

        Sounds about right.

    2. IDK, it depends on what the subject matter of the “ratting” is. In this instance, the ratting was condemnatory. But what about where one rats on someone who committed/will commit a heinous crime?

      1. I suppose you’re right: it depends on why they’re dropping the dime on somebody. Still, this had no benefit but to get a couple of people in a lot of trouble and stories like this make me want to blow a valve.

      2. what about where one rats on someone who committed/will commit a heinous crime?

        Their name should be disclosed to the judge issuing the warrant. I understand that many CIs are never named in warrant applications.

        Their name should also be disclosed to the defendant at the right point in the (due) process, because the defendant should have the right to cross-examine, etc. everyone who has provided evidence against them.

        1. I respect the Confrontation Clause, too. I was merely disagreeing with The Grinch’s implied hostility to the act of snitching on someone.

    3. When did this all change? As a kid in the 80’s, my parents would punish ME for being a tattle tell. It seemed to be the general sense of how things should be in a free society. Now just parent outside mainstream society and who society looks down upon going around saying don’t snitch.

      1. My youngest son has learned that it is of no use complaining to me about any bullying his older brother might be engaging in.

        Every time he complains to me, my response is “Sounds about right. That is what happens to tattle tales.”

        I think he would have been broken from that bad habit if his mother wasn’t so receptive to cosseting him when he whines.

      2. my parents would punish ME for being a tattle tell

        Hell, the Brady Bunch had a whole episode about that.

      3. My 7 and 6 year old granddaughters came not my office the other day, the oldest one in tears, claiming the younger had been teasing her. Expecting me to exact revenge, I asked, “Did you punch her?” The little one’ eyes got very big.

    4. And at least Judas had the decency to hang himself after what he did. This piece of shit will only feel the smug self satisfaction that comes from shitting on some other poor schmuck.

    5. 5 bucks says the anonymous tipster was the local alcohol distributor.

      1. That or the management of another bar. New Glarus is good beer, and if word was getting around town that one particular bar was selling Spotted Cow, you can bet that they were pulling in extra customers for it.

        The law is stupid, but it’s the law we all have to follow. If you’re cheating to gain a competitive advantage over me and steal my customers, you can be damned sure that I’m calling the tip line.

        1. …and that’s how the abuse of anti-competitive government intrusion into the marketplace is perpetuated. To the eager cheers of those who get to take advantage of it.

    6. I thought the worst person in the Bible was that “THE LORD” asshole who keeps mass murdering everyone in the OT.

      1. Even as a bleefer myself, I lol’d.

    7. +1 see something/say something

      1. After all, if just anybody can sell beer, then the terrorists have already won!

  6. America has an unnamed “anonymous tipster” to Wisconsin’s Department of Revenue, who then squealed to Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety, to thank for this most American of felony prosecutions. Take a bow, you anonymous patriot!

    Snitches get stitches.

    1. Anonymous Tippler Provides Case to DA Drunk with Power

    2. “Snitches end up in ditches”


  7. Obligatory rant about the lack of a h/t.

    You could at least point out that Maple Grove is Tundra and I’s home town. Then speculate on why our two libertarian votes haven’t led to “The Moment” starting here.

    1. Nobody with actual things to do and people who care about them reads links threads.

      1. So why don’t you read them?

      2. Fuck that noise. I’m a multiple recipient of H/T’s.

        I can see shafting some poor n00b who doesn’t have a history of H/T’s, but me? I should get them just on my rep alone. Like Kobe getting into the All Star game.

        1. It’s always possible that he found the story on his own.

  8. Well, when you have this many retarded laws expect to give power to retards and snitches.

    It’s like the language laws up here. Most people don’t give a shit about English being on a sign but all it takes is those assholes like the one from the pot luck in Arizona or this jerk off to set off a big useless debate while exposing how wonderfully retarded we are in our retardation.

  9. Maple Tavern in Marple Grove, Minnesota

    Marple Grove? I mean, the word Maple is 4 words before that one!


  10. No New Glarus, no peace!

    Okay now I want to take a trip to Wisconsin.

  11. Our long national nightmare of illegal beer being smuggled from one state to the next is coming to an end.
    All hail the Police State!

  12. America has an unnamed “anonymous tipster” to Wisconsin’s Department of Revenue, who then squealed to Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety, to thank for this most American of felony prosecutions.

    Probably someone with either a rival microbrewery, or a rival bar owner looking to use the state to shut down a competitor. Add this asshat to the growing list of people I hope get Lou Gherig’s disease.

    1. I always liked George Carlin’s rants about people he didn’t like and the shit he wished would happen to them.

  13. New Glaurus Spotted Cow?

    Fuck that shit! Leinenkugel’s !

    1. Leiney Bock back in the day was fucking awesome. They still have some good batches, but it isn’t as good as the old days.

      1. Get off my lawn!

  14. He obviously didn’t have the Bandit running interference.

  15. Let’s not overlook the eager thuggishness of the enforcers on this one, either.

    A decent human being would have gone to the bar and basically given them a warning.

    Only a grinning, microcephalic goon would file fucking felony charges for this, which will ruin this bar owners life, full fucking stop.

    God, but I hate people.

    1. Liquor enforcers are not known for their reasonableness or humanity. Their entire purpose is to fuck over business owners.

      1. Too lazy to dig back through the original story, but I vaguely remember hearing about it a few weeks ago too. Can’t remember for sure, but I’m guessing it wasn’t just your friendly neighborhood DA showing up with an indictment and a ham sandwich. Probably more like a multi-jurisdictional task force with some concocted acronym for their name going full-SWAT-retard at dawn. Probably did a sweep for human trafficking while they were at it. God help any dogs that happened to be within five miles.

        1. I never got the ham sandwich indictment analogy.

          Sure, you could get any OTHER sandwich indicted easy, I don’t doubt. But not a ham sandwich.

          ‘Cause the one thing that it is impossible to indict is something made of pork.

          1. Travolta said it best in Pulp Fiction: “bacon tastes good.” I don’t care if it’s a charming motherfucking pig or not, because it sure is tasty.

            And you have a point. All tuna salad sandwiches should be indicted and summarily executed.

  16. So let me get this straight. The people who sold the beer in Minnesota were properly licensed to sell beer, generally a legal product in Minnesota. They paid retail to bring beer from Wisconsin to Minnesota. The manufacturer of the Wisconsin beer did not try to sell the beer in Minnesota, and isn’t licensed to do so. But because the manufacturer of the beer itself is not licensed to sell in Minnesota (which it did not try to do), the properly licensed sellers of beer in Minnesota are on the hook for taking the initiative to bring this beer to their Minnesota customers? So does any brewery who hopes to sell beer in Minnesota need one of these manufacturers’ licenses? Or can Minnesota beer distributors (we presume, properly licensed) bring out-of-state beer in under their own umbrella of State-granted authority? In other words, if the people, whose establishment was raided, had acquired their Wisconsin beer through an approved Wisconsin middleman, would they have had any trouble? I suspect that question may be closer to the heart of the matter than the question of whether Minnesota is trying to put out-of-State beer at a disadvantage to protect local brewers. Who has knowledge of Minnesota rent-seeking institutions?

    1. Lemme help:

      Minnesota has established a limited number of beer distributorships.

      If you try to bring in beer for sale without letting them wet their beak, they will fuck you up, because crony.

      Hope that helps.

      1. An additional wrinkle is that New Glarus brewing isn’t interested in the paperwork for getting their beer “registered in MN” and don’t seem particularly interested in expanding the business. You can’t get New Glarus beer in MN from anybody.

        1. Not current on NG’s business, but they may have made the decision to stay Wisconsin-only because of the paperwork and the state-mandated ass-rape of producers under the three-tier alcohol distribution system. Expanding their facilities to serve other markets may not have a decent ROI, given the relatively low revenue they can expect after the distributors take their cut.

    2. Burt Reynolds made a whole series of movies about trying to illegally sell Coors east of the Mississippi.

  17. I can SORTA understand these laws, as a Wisconsinite myself. If we eliminated these sorts of things, all you other states’ shitty beer would go out of business as your people import our brew.

    Protectionism isn’t ever right of course, but it’s a bit flattering that the other states are scared of competing with our superior products.

  18. The Minnesota bar didn’t sell ANY of the Wisconsin beer. They actually gave it away for free. They merely charged $6 to rent the glass they poured it into.

  19. Like the law or not, all the other beer companies are playing by the rules of the 3-tier system. You can argue the rules are stupid but that doesn’t mean you don’t comply with them. Work to get the law changed if you think there is a better system.

  20. what a waste, spotted cow is not that good. Everyone seems to have kittens about it and I’ve had it quite a lot of times, I just don’t get it.

    1. It really is a shame that those thousands and thousands of happy beer drinkers are drinking the wrong stuff. You should really get to work educating them all.

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