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Total Buzzkill: State Legislators Urge PLCB to Clampdown on Pop-Up Beer Gardens

by Drink Philly on Jul 21, 2014 in Culture

If you thought the recent rise of pop-up beer gardens blossoming in all corners of our fair city this summer was too good to be true, you are correct.

As Don Russell (aka Joe Sixpack) pointed out last week in his Daily News column, those outdoor oases are in fact kind of shady. The operators are taking advantage of regulatory loopholes to keep the gardens going for longer than their temporary licenses permit.

Mere days after Russell's column brought this secret to light, buzzkills from Harrisburg are butting in, calling it a matter of “grave concern” and leaning on Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to clamp down on the pop-up beer gardens.

Daily News reports that state Representatives John Taylor (R-Philadelphia), Paul Costa (D-Allegheny) and state Senators Chuck McIlhinney (R-Bucks) and Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny) have sent a letter to PLCB, demanding that they crack down on beer garden operators who are gaming the system to keep their pop-ups open.

At issue is the fact that some of these outdoor spots have obtained multiple permits intended for liquor licensees to operate off premises for single day events to keep their pop-up businesses going for weeks and months at a time. The State reps pressing the issue claim PLCB’s interpretation of the law “allows for the purposeful misuse of the permits.” In the letter, they threaten to amend the law themselves if the booze board make changes.

You would think with Pennsylvania’s current state, where public schools are criminally underfunded and roads, bridges and other infrastructure are literally crumbling, the legislators leading this foolish crusade — most of whom do not represent the city’s constituents — should be focusing their attention on solving bigger and more pressing problems.

[UPDATE] The Philadelphia Democratic Caucus has launched an online petiton via Change.org to urge lawmakers to back off Philadelphia’s beer gardens. The petition asserts that the pop-ups serve as an “important addition to Philadelphia's economy,” and contribute “much-needed tax revenue to our city, state, and school district," while bringing “people and money to areas of the city that need some low-cost economic development ideas.” In its first 24 hours, the petition has gathered more than 13,000 supporters. The goal is to get 10,000-plus. Check it out here.

Photo: Uwishunu


Tags: Beer, News, Outdoor Seating
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