Monday, March 08, 2010

Jesus! $7200 Worth of Beer Confiscated by Dumb Cops

The Jesus news today is sparse: Glenn Beck tells people to leave churches that preach social justice (asshat) and a painting of Mary is crying oil outside of Paris. Boo.

So let's talk about beer and dumb cops instead!

Who are they? That's Leigh Maida and Brendan Hartranft, owners of three bars, including Resurrection Ale House, in Grays Ferry, and Local 44, in West Philly. Based on a "customer complaint," their 3 bars were targeted and raided in unison for selling beer with names that were not registered with PA.
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.

Aside from the obvious clusterfuck that is the organization of the law, here's the bullshit part: A half-assed list corroborated over the phone with liquor control jumbled with morons executing the order were confiscating everything not on their list exactly, like if Michelob was on the list, they'd take Mich Ultra because Ultra wasn't on the list.

And the list was far from accurate. The troopers ended up taking beer served in bars across the state and ignoring Heineken, whose brewer is apparently missing from the list.

Best quote, from Maida: "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."

I think the bigger questions are: why did they target this couple's bars? At a time when people are arguing for smaller government and championing small businesses, how does a perfect storm of ineptness swarm in and take over? And why do we still allow morons who know nothing about beer poorly manage lists that they send to Schlitz-swilling officers who wouldn't know a bock from a stout to execute orders they can barely read?

Isn't there some more important crime going on somewhere in Philly? Shouldn't investigation precede a raid? I'm calling shenanigans on this bullshit; either these good folks were singled out on a personal or business level or PA's enforcement is retarded. Or both.

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