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May 20, 2008


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What a tragedy. It's amazing that these liquor authorities, boards, and control organizations, originally chartered to protect people from the dangers of alcohol -- which are real -- invariably increase those dangers by regulating and punishing out anything other than those establishments which appeal to the lowest common denominator.

As a bar manager and bartender in a heavily centralized and authoritative control state (PA, biggest single buying power in the world), I'm always astonished that bringing in a few bottles of an esoteric and high-quality product is always infinitely more difficult than picking up a few hundred bottles of honest-to-god rotgut.

Laws are constructed in such a way that any on-premise retailer can be shut down at the whim of a state/city-planner/control organization/licensing authority/block captain, and remarkably it's generally quality establishments which are making a genuine effort to change drinking culture and elevate cocktails to their appropriate place in the culinary world that get hit instead of those genuine problem spots. As a former (reluctant) inhabitant of the 'burbs, I watched drunks smash parked cars in an attempt to to exit the parking lot and enter actual traffic, while cops more or less stood by -- but urban destinations are targeted as attracting press and held down below the Damocles sword of ridiculous standards while real issue locations are saved by money, connections, and low aspirations.

Not, I hope, that Death & Co. needs it, but should a legal defense fund be established, I'd personally happily forgo a night of drinking to make a contribution -- & while I work too much to drink out too often, when I do I drink well, as, I suspect, do many of us.

Here's to reform!

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