Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher

PA’s crazypants liquor police strike again

Having solved the problem of violent crime in the Keystone State, the Pennsylvania liquor police swung into action this weekend. Get a load of this:

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.


Do you want to know how petty this is? Read on:

Maida said that the State Police also confiscated bottles of Duvel, a popular ale imported from Belgium that is widely advertised and available in at least 200 bars throughout the city and suburbs. The beer appears on the PLCB list as “Duvel Beer,” while its label reads “Duvel Belgian Golden Ale.”

By the time the bureaucracy gets done with them, even if the beer’s rightful owners are cleared, most of the beer will have gone bad. But hey, it’s fancy SWPL beer, so we’ll soon hear from readers who insist these bar owners must deserve it.

Comments read comments(12)
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Karl G

posted March 8, 2010 at 11:48 am

The only remotely good thing about this whole mess is how well it creates a parallel for showing the basic insanity that underlies the War on Drugs in general. However laudable or not you see the goals, the entire approach to the matter is about as wrong as you can get and only really serves to put money in the pockets of a handful of special interests.

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posted March 8, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Let me pre-empt the hectoring nanny state commenters with an itemized list of why your wine loving sensibilities are addled.
1) The road to perdition in fancy Rittenhouse Square apartments is lined with fancy-schmancy unregistered beer bottles.
2) Because of your latent dissolution, anything the State can do to keep you away from demon rum is a good thing.
3) The fact that the beer registration law was passed means that it provides a valuable social benefit. (Although, what that may be is beyond me.)
Did I miss anything?

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Cultural conservative

posted March 8, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Don’t you know it’s gay and elitist to like tasty, well-made things, Rod? Real men hate everything except sports and American beer.

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posted March 8, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Yet they sell Velveeta without a warning label.
Meanwhile, I guess it’s just easier to run on raid on unarmed bars for label discrepancies than it is to deal with actual crimes, huh?

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posted March 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Here’s a storyline twist.
On the day of the bar raid, The PA State cops were actually on LCB harassment duty and parked undercover at Moore’s Liquor Store in Pennsauken. Just as you were pulling into Moore’s to conduct your nefarious business, the cops were called back into PA to effect the beer raids. So departed the premises coincidentally.
By the time the cops returned to their Moore’s observation post laden with fresh donuts and coffee, you had already loaded up your contraband and hightailed back across the bridge immersed in a complex psychological stew of paranoia and anticipatory delight.
A two-ships passing in the night because of cosmic kismet kind of thing…

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Grumpy Old Man

posted March 8, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Sounds like somebody missed a payoff. But I’m cynical.

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posted March 8, 2010 at 2:22 pm

PA’s likker laws make the ones down in Texas appear down right sane. makes you wonder how much greater the PA likker tax receipts would be if they were to change the laws. probably a plot by the pols in DE and NJ to ensure that the downtrodden PA citizenry has to cross the border

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posted March 8, 2010 at 2:46 pm

They didn’t bust Paddy’s did they? Is Greenman OK?

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R Hampton

posted March 8, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Growing up in Pennsylvania, it always seemed strange (and wrong!) that other states allowed beer and wine to be sold in supermarkets. But having lived in California for nearly a decade, now I wonder how the residents of PA tolerate such restrictions.
FYI, this is how the nine states that ran alcohol sales in 2006 fared amongst all fifty states, D.C. and Puerto Rico in terms of drunk driving fatality rate for 2007:
Deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled
03. Vermont ………….. 0.86
09. Washington …….. 1.00
10. Michigan …………. 1.04
12. Utah ………………… 1.11
23. Oregon ……………. 1.31
U.S. AVERAGE …….. 1.36
26. Pennsylvania ….. 1.37
39. North Carolina … 1.62
45. Alabama ………….. 1.81
52. Montana ………….. 2.45

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Knez Dan

posted March 8, 2010 at 10:17 pm

AHHH – I liove for this blog. It’s therapy to know that I am not the only one who finds the PLCB to be an archaic remnant of the past or possibly a portend of future events. Did I jsut make a zen kowan?

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posted March 9, 2010 at 12:36 am

sounds to me like someone stepped on somebody’s toes – would be interesting to know the real story behind this raid

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posted March 9, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Is PA residency a job requirement? If not, there are alternatives. The laws don’t make sense to you and they inconvenience you. But they are the laws, they aren’t unjust, or even unfair. They just offend you. So what are tour options? Break the law? What is the moral messgae in that?

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