Don Russell, aka Joe Sixpack, answers the question I was afraid to know the answer to, “how are all these beer gardens legal?” Turns out the answer is in an LCB loophole created in a 2012 law change that was meant to make it easier for caterers to operate off-site. What has happened is establishments with liquor licenses have been able to set up beer gardens that operate as catering operations and in some cases, piggybacking permits from multiple establishments to create a full-time beer garden at a fraction of the cost of a full liquor license.
There’s no doubt the beer gardens are great for the city, and a recent trip to this season’s PHS Beer Garden at 15th and South not only saw hundreds enjoying the new outdoor space but the overflow filling Sawatdee, Cambridge, Rex 1516 and Jet Wine Bar as well. The Spruce Street Harbor Park and The Oval are both pushing the city and its residents to reimagine how they interact with areas of the city. But it is interesting to see how these beer gardens have all come about.
And hurray for loopholes.
Pop-up gardens take advantage of legal loophole [Philadelphia Daily News]
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board warned consumers Tuesday afternoon it may have sold you wine that could explode. The LCB is telling people to dispose of Indigenous Selections Prosecco Brut 2013 as quickly as possible.
”Consumers should use caution when handling this product,” Chairman Joseph E. Brion said in the release. ”While we have not had any reports from consumers who may have been affected, we want to take every precaution in order to avoid a safety issue. Those who purchased the product can contact their local Fine Wine & Good Spirits Store for a full refund.”
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Steve Wildy has weighed in on Facebook with an open letter to Trey regarding the wine pricing at Petruce et al. The letter makes some very good points. We have re-posted the letter in its entirety below. It is lengthy and illuminating. Please take the time to read it.
Note: Comments are off on this post so the discussion can continue in one place, on the State of the Markup post.
I recently received wind of online comments made by Jason Malumed, a wine distributor, in response to Philly Mag food writer Trey Popp’s review of Petruce et al. These comments elicited a response from the critic called “A Second Look At Petruce et al: The State of the Markup.” (You should read it) Malumed’s comments sought to point out many factual inaccuracies and outright untruths. Unfortunately, Popp’s second look doesn’t apologize to Petruce co-owner and wine director Tim Kweeder for misquoting his average markups as 3x instead of 2.6x as much as it takes the opportunity to further rail against restaurant wine pricing in general.
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Looks like no RIP for the PLCB this year. PennLive reports that House majority whip Stan Saylor, formerly a staunch supporter of the full privatization of Pennsylvania liquor sales, has expressed a new willingness to compromise with his Republican colleagues in the Senate and move forward with a plan to bring wine and beer sales only to grocery and convenience stores:
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We here in Pennsylvania may be lushes — after all, Philadelphia alone bought over $59 million in wine and $51 million in vodka in 2012.
But that really wasn’t that much: According to a report from Business Insider using data from the Beverage Information Group, Pennsylvania drinks just 5.6 liters of wine per capita — ranking it 37th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia on the list. Alabama drinks more wine than we do!
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The Patriot-News reports: “One of the biggest talking points in the debate over the future of Pennsylvania’s state store system is “border bleed” — the number of Pennsylvanians who drive across state lines to buy booze. But it seems neighboring states are also losing customers to Pennsylvania.”
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The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board just released its 2012-13 Retail Year In Review report, which tallies up the wine and spirits sales throughout the state. Philadelphia is not the biggest purchaser by county. The heavy drinkers of Pittsburgh and the rest of Allegheny County have that distinction, with Philadelphia coming in at a close second, followed by Montgomery, Bucks and Chester counties, in that order. So as a region, we are crushing it.
Below, a look at some of the facts and figures from this year’s report. Read more »
Photo by Matt Gari
UPDATE 11/14/2013: Shake Shack has canceled its illegal 2-for-1 happy hour. “We are working with the PLCB on approval for our new happy hour concept,” reports Shake Shack publicist Jacklin Rhoads.
So, the Philadelphia Shake Shack is promoting a new weekday happy hour, as was mentioned here on Foobooz on Monday, the first day of the special. According to Shake Shack’s own website, which announced the details of the new happy hour last week, patrons can “enjoy 2-for-1 beer and wine from 4-6 p.m., Monday through Thursday.”
And given that those beers include Victory Brewing Company’s Festbier and the Shack’s exclusive ShackMesiter Ale from Brooklyn Brewery, that’s a pretty good deal. Too bad it’s illegal. Read more »
Dan McQuade ranks the best of Philadelphia’s Wine & Spirits shops with helpful notes about what you’ll find nearby and how long the lines get on New Year’s Eve.