I was just at the Church Brew Works this afternoon (I'm out here with my daughter's school robotics team at the FIRST regional competition), sampling a Burly Friar Barleywine (seen at right, talked about here, and it was good: not bourbony, but drier wood spice and a little vanilla, and certainly not a flabby beer at all; I had Brant's Czech Pils, too, and it was very nice, body was about perfect). I'm talking with Brant (ran into him on the steps out front, it was a gorgeous day here), when Church owner Sean Casey walks up. We chat, he says he can't talk long, there's a state senator coming for a tour. We talked a little beer raid smack, and in walks the Senator.
And Sean introduces me. Next thing I know, I'm talking about the beer raids with Senator John Pippy (R-37), who is the chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, the folks who oversee the PLCB in the Senate. Good guy to know! That's when he told me that his committee and the House Liquor Control Committee will be holding joint hearings on the beer raids on April 13. There will be representatives from the PLCB, the State Police BLCE, Monk's Cafe (I assume as the owner of one of the seized brands), and Origlio Beverage. Not mentioned, you'll notice, is Brendan Hartranft and Leigh Maida, the owners of the bars that were raided first. There's more on this at Don Russell's Joe Sixpack site, and Don also has an excellent piece on just how worthless the brand registration list is; go read that now, because it will really piss you off.
A couple titbits to add. First, I asked him just what purpose brand registration serves. He told me that it was for consumer protection, to tell you where the beer came from. But all that's right on the label, I said. Well, there's not that much on a beer label, he began...and I decided to let it go. More on that at the other blog later. Second, and of more interest to Philadelphians, we talked about the source of the original complaint. It seemed odd that an anonymous complaint would be taken so seriously, I said. Did the BLCE really do that on the basis of an anonymous tip, or are they just keeping the identity confidential? They know, he said; they said they had a "complaint." That means they know who made the complaint. Interesting.