Philly Bar Raid Follows “Citizen Complaint”

By Mary Kathryn Burke

Mar 8, 2010 4:52pm

ABC News’ Mary Kathryn Burke reports: An anonymous complaint led to raids on three bars in Philadelphia, PA last week, and the confiscation of scores of gallons of brew.

State Police Sgt. William La Torre told the ABC News Law & Justice Unit that police received a call saying that the bars were serving “unregistered” beers and that his colleagues are required to look into all liquor complaints. In Pennsylvania, La Torre explained, restaurants and bars are required to register all beers they serve with the state.

“We don’t make the laws, we only enforce them,” La Torre said. “We are complaint driven. We don’t just pop in on people.”

Although La Torre could not confirm rumors that the complaint came from a competitor, he acknowledged that drinking establishments are “a very cutthroat industry and—often—yes, we have bars complain on other bars.”

Leigh Maida, co-owner of the three bars, including Resurrection Ale House, told the Law & Justice Unit that she believes the raid was the result of an online enemy.

“We have an internet hater,” she said. “There was a recent tirade online on reviews and web forums saying we are bootleggers and then about 5 or 6 cops show up at each bar and came armed with a list of beers that were ‘unregistered.’”

Maida said she believes a lot of the beers included on the list were actually registered with PA, but under names that were slightly different from the  titles on the tap. The registered “Duvel Beer,” for example, was labeled on the tap as “Duvel Belgian Golden Ale," she said.

“It was lots of clerical stuff,” Maida said, “sloppy investigating.”

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