As feared, the other shoe has dropped.
Last night, the State Police raided Origlio Beverage, the wholesale distributor that supplied some of the beer that was confiscated at Local 44, Resurrection and Memphis Taproom. My colleague, Bob Warner, and I will be reporting more details in tomorrow’s Daily News, but here’s some of what I know:
The Bureau of Liquor Enforcement agents arrived about 7 p.m. last night and conducted a search of the warehouse, specifically looking for Origlio’s share of brands they’d confiscated from the bars last week. This includes: Duvel, Monk’s Cafe Sour Flemish Ale, Hacker-Pschorr and Russian River Supplication.
They reportedly confiscated only the Supplication because they would’ve needed a tractor trailer for the rest. They ordered Origlio not to distribute any of the other brands.
That’s why, as I reported in a previous blog post, shipments of Duvel in Philadelphia have ceased. I’m already hearing from local bar owners that they’re running out. (Ironic, because it’s assumed the snitch who alerted the PLCB about the unregistered brands is probably a local bar operator who will now have to suffer along with everyone else.)
As I reported on Monday, Duvel is an especially troublesome brand in the midst of all of this because it is clearly registered. It’s just that the brand name on the state’s list of registered brands is “Duvel Beer” and the label actually reads “Duvel Belgian Golden Ale” - a fact that the Daily News stressed in its first report, and which the BLE surely knows.
What we’re witnessing isn’t just bureaucratic incompetence or the result of outdated laws. This is an act of unrepentant arrogance. As one local restaurant operator remarked of the BLE, “They don’t answer to anybody. They’re running amok.”
Meanwhile, other distributors are scared shitless that they’re next in line. They’re lawyering up and desperately re-checking records to make sure every “i” is dotted.
The good news is that this whole episode might be a tipping point in the whole battle over beer regulation in Pennsylvania. It’s provoked a chorus of outrage online, and the grousing at area bars is deafening. Take away our beer? How dare they!
If this stuff outrages you, complain to the PLCB and write your state legislator now!