RE: "Please consider suspending confiscations of "unregistered beer."
I'm sure you're aware of the recent actions of the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement in Philadelphia. BLCE agents raided three bars last Thursday -- on the basis of an anonymous tip -- to look for beers that were not registered in Pennsylvania. Some 60 gallons of beer, with an estimated value of over $7000, was seized. Monday night, the BLCE raided a major beer wholesaler in Philadelphia and seized beer as well. This is not a case of tax evasion: all taxes were paid on the beer. They were just not registered; an oversight.
These raids have caused consternation among the retailers potentially and actually affected by the actions; the responsibility for registration is the manufacturer's, not the retailer's.
The raids were unnecessary: send a PLCB bureaucrat to the wholesaler who supplies the beer, and give them the power to accept a fee and register any unregistered brands on the spot. I would suspect you'd see 100% compliance.
The raids were a public relations disaster; just have a look at the coverage in the Philadelphia papers.
The raids were of suspicious motivation: why were these three widely-separated bars (all owned by one couple) singled out; what "civilian" would even know that a violation was taking place; why does the BLCE insist on keeping the identity of the complainant secret?
The raids were also, sad to say, poorly implemented: the PLCB's list of registered brands is poorly maintained, and at least one beer, "Duvel", is being confiscated because of a clerical error. Duvel is registered and has been registered for years.
There are already calls for hearings to investigate the matter from Reps. Robert Donatucci and John Taylor. I would strongly urge you to call for an immediate suspension of further confiscations (taking place under Section 4-444, para C of the state Liquor Code) until such hearings can take place. An immediate suspension would allow a cooling off period, and allow the hearings to take place at a measured pace.
Thank you for your kind attention to this matter.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Call for suspension of confiscation
I just sent versions of the following to my state senator, representative, and Gov. Rendell: