Last week’s announcement by the New Albanian Brewing Company that Bank Street Brewhouse will close on May 25 (NABC’s Pizzeria & Public House remains open, cooking and brewing) brought back many memories of BSB’s ten-year run, like the time I fought the law and the law won — but only temporarily.
In the following post from May 20, 2015 the whole story is told and a compendium of links provided. My personal favorite is this, the most-read “guest column” in the blog’s (almost) 15-year history.
ON THE AVENUES: PourGate (the Great Beer Pour War of 2013) and Dr. Tom’s prescription: “Kneel and Kiss My Ring, You Degraded Alcoholic.”
It probably has escaped your notice, since not one of you care very much about public health and safety, not to mention your own disgusting standards of personal hygiene, but vast numbers of our fellow Americans are clueless sheep wallowing in a medieval squalor of bacteria. If not for the efforts of selfless heroes like me, you’d doubtless be bathing daily in your own raw sewage.
You really must see yourselves some time. Your filthy, germ-ridden body parts hang flabby and exposed from inadequate, scant clothing. You continue to smoke cigarettes even after we kicked you outside. You have sex before you’re married, refuse to use condoms, decline to exercise, and “dine” regularly on Big Gulps and Fritos. Any of you ever met a whole fried chicken, deep-fried Twinkie or fat-laden burger you wouldn’t stuff by the dozen into your gaping pie holes? I didn’t think so.
We try our best to ban all these substances that hurt you, but do you thank us? No, you just keep babbling about your right to determine your own destiny and live your own lives, as though we can tolerate free will when pathogens are everywhere. What have we become in America, a nation of philosophers?
I was one-third owner of Bank Street Brewhouse from incorporation in 2008 until my NABC buyout was finalized in February, 2018. In all that time, I received one paycheck for BSB. The buyout wasn’t worth much more. But that’s just fine, because beating The Man was worth every lost penny.
Things like that are what I live for.
It feels wonderful to have played a small role in checking the health department’s 2013 over-reach and clarifying the state law to prevent other entities from launching similar shenanigans about licensing. Not only that, but our subsequent (albeit smaller) hassle with the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission’s rules about the availability of food led to statutory adjustments as to what Indiana brewery taprooms can do to ease the weight of compliance with an obviously outdated standard.
If you’re managing a brewery taproom and no longer are compelled to keep frozen weenies in a dorm fridge next to the microwave … you’re welcome.
State representative Ed Clere did the heavy lifting in both cases, and I’m grateful to him for this — and to Lee and Bob for their efforts during PourGate.
In terms of writing, I think my coverage of PourGate is worthy of inclusion in NA Confidential’s Greatest Hits. Kick back, pour a stiff one and don’t forget the good times we had at Bank Street Brewhouse.
PourGate 2013: It took two years, but this new law silences Dr. Tom Harris and the Floyd County Health Department.
|As it began.|
On June 14, 2013, the New Albanian Brewing Company was peaceably vending beer at Bicentennial Park, by means of a supplemental catering permit issued by the company’s governing agency, the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission.
The Floyd County Health Department arrived and said that NABC also needed a temporary food serving permit.
I said no, that’s incorrect.
They persisted, and a two-year-long struggle commenced.
An Indiana Public Access Request was filed, and the Dr. Tom Harris and the FCHD’s attorney laughed it off. NABC filed an appeal, based on a previous Indiana appeals court ruling (Ft. Wayne v Kotsopoulus; thanks, Bob) and the FCHD’s board slightly moderated the department’s error, but did not correct it.
The FCHD then childishly slandered NABC with a web site photo equating Bank Street Brewhouse with e coli, and NABC filed a tort claim notice. An ultimately fruitless search for adults in county government began.
|They blamed it on the webmaster.|
By late 2013, the Indiana Attorney General’s office had agreed with NABC’s reference to the court ruling, and found the FCHD to have absolutely no basis for its claim that a temporary food service permit was needed to pour beer.
The FCHD overtly and publicly stated that it would ignore this directive.
Throughout 2014, NABC and other vendors adhered to the FCHD’s improvised 2013 requirement, which although amended, remained utterly baseless and without statutory authority.
Now a new summer vending season is beginning in 2015, and there is a new development.
On July 1, 2015, when a “beer bill” authored by Rep. Ed Clere officially becomes state law, it will be demonstrated for a third (and we trust final) time that the FCHD and its head, Dr. Tom Harris, were mistaken all along.
The new law is clear and explicit, as based on the two preceding legal precedents, both hitherto ignored by the FCHD.
All thanks to Ed Clere.
His hard work in compelling local government functionaries to obey their own laws will not be forgotten, especially by me.
If we lived in a culture of accountability, Dr. Tom Harris would be cashiered on July 1, 2015, when the new law takes effect. For two years, Harris and his department have made a mockery of Indiana state law and the principle of due process. For what purpose?
Following is the text of the new law. After that, there is a (maybe) complete compendium of NAC links telling the story of PourGate.
SECTION 6. IC 16-42-5-30 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2015]:
(a) As used in this section, “permit holder” means the holder of:
(1) a farm winery permit under IC 7.1-3-12-5; or
(2) a brewer’s permit under IC 7.1-3-2-7(5).
(b) A permit holder that sells or furnishes alcoholic beverages by the glass at a festival, fair, or other temporary location authorized by the permit holder’s permit under IC 7.1, is not considered to be a food establishment and is exempt from the requirements of this title that apply to food establishments, if the following requirements are met:
(1) The holder of a farm winery permit furnishes only the following for consumption on the premises, regardless of whether there is a charge:
(A) Wine samples.
(B) Wine by the glass.
The holder may not serve or furnish any food, including any fruit, condiment, flavoring, or garnish added to the wine after the wine is poured from its original container.
(2) The holder of a brewer’s permit furnishes only the following for consumption on the premises, regardless of whether there is a charge:
(A) Beer samples.
(B) Beer by the glass.
The holder may not serve or furnish any food, including any fruit, condiment, flavoring, or garnish added to the beer after the beer is poured from its original container.
(c) A local unit of government (as defined in IC 14-22-31.5-1) may not require any licensure, registration, or certification of a permit holder as a condition of providing alcoholic beverages at a festival, fair, or other temporary location authorized by the permit holder’s permit under IC 7.1, if the permit holder meets the requirements of this section.
Following is as complete a compendium of links as could be mustered in an hour and a half without Roger losing his mind. I should be awarded a effing Pulitzer Prize for this. They appear in reverse chronological order.
October 9, 2014: Not only that, but I even washed my hands before pressing “send.”
FALL AND WINTER 2013
December 21, 2013: N and T: “State: Floyd County Health Department shouldn’t require permit.”
November 16, 2013: Your PourGate update for Saturday, November 16: A waiting game.
September 4, 2013: In which we learn percentages: “That minus is too low to see.”
September 3, 2013: Your PourGate update for Tuesday, September 3, and a letter to the editor.
August 27, 2013: Your PourGate update for Tuesday, August 27.
August 24, 2013: My second favorite News and Tribune reader comment yet.
August 21, 2013: Any adults in county government surface yet?
August 20, 2013: Your PourGate update for Tuesday, August 20.
August 19, 2013: My favorite News and Tribune reader comment yet.
August 17, 2013: N and T: “JEERS … to the Floyd County Health Department … “
August 17, 2013: These machines kill fascists, pathogens and bureaucrats.
August 15, 2013: ON THE AVENUES: When the whip comes down.
August 13, 2013: A cease and desist, a tort claim notice, and Dr. Tom at large.
August 13, 2013: NABC to Floyd County Commissioners, Health Department: “This malicious activity has caused, and continues to cause, financial harm to the claimants’ businesses and corresponding reputations.”
August 3, 2013: Hegemony in action.
July 31, 2013: Got trench warfare if they want it.
July 29, 2013: Guest column: “The Health Department’s Pussy Riot.”
July 26, 2013: NABC before the FCHD Board 4: Late breaking news.
July 26, 2013: ON THE AVENUES: NABC before the FCHD Board 3.
July 26, 2013: NABC before the FCHD Board 2: NABC’s case.
July 26, 2013: NABC before the FCHD Board 1: The health department’s case.
July 24, 2013: Let’s see if a formal complaint will do the trick.
July 23, 2013: Dressing up for a date with the Health Department board.
July 18, 2013: ON THE AVENUES: Sunscreen, lube, and Dr. Tom’s cabin.
June 25, 2013: Isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society?
June 21, 2013: Jeeebus, what a week. Here’s a review.
June 20, 2013: On the song and dance routine of Dr. Tom Harris.
June 19, 2013: No parking lot for bicycles.
June 18, 2013: Sentenced to county septic inspections?
June 18, 2013: No Tricentennial for DNA in wartime, unfortunately.
June 17, 2013: Food handling, panhandling and regulatory free-basing.