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More On 2nd Raid Of Pennsylvania Distributor

Yesterday on Don Russell’s Beer Radar, he had the basic information on a second raid by the PLCB and Pennsylvania State Troopers. As promised, a fuller account was published today, with additional reporting by Bob Warner, in the Philadelphia Daily News. Here’s the account, entitled In Another Raid, State Police Hit Beer Distributor, Origlio’s, in Far Northeast.

The state continues to confiscate Duvel, Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Red Ale and even Hacker-Pschorr, despite all three brands having been registered and sold for many years. Russian River Brewing’ Supplication was also one of the beers confiscated, but in that case Vinnie Cilurzo admitted he’d simply forgotten the paperwork for the very small number of cases shipped to Pennsylvania. As reported by Russell, Cilurzo stated. “We are a small mom-and-pop brewery and every once in a while something slips through the cracks.”

What continues to be troubling is that this is essentially just paperwork errors and miscommunication and it’s being treated like the crime of the century. Did they really need to go in armed, like storm troopers? Were they expecting trouble or that gunfire might be necessary? It’s not like they were raiding a bootlegger’s den and could expect Tommy guns to be carried by everyone inside the distributorship. It seems absurd to think there might be some justification for that level of power display.

As another remarked. “‘It’s just a clerical problem, but they’re treating this stuff like contraband,’ said one distributor who asked not to be identified.” See what we’ve created? Here’s a legitimate businessman who’s afraid to be identified while criticizing the PLCB and the state police for fear of retaliation, despite the fact that as a citizen he has every right to do so. When we aren’t comfortable exercising basic rights like that because we believe we’ll be targeted by the people we’re criticizing (who, let’s not forget, are there to serve the people), that, to me, is a very scary development indeed. Now that’s a chilling effect. This is just going from bad to worse.

UPDATE: Thanks to James Costa for pointing this out. Today, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s food writer, Rick Nichols, gives us his take on the PLCB raids in Beer Raid Backfires on Liquor Agents.

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