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By in Latest News Comments Off on Eighth Auction of Expired Restaurant Licenses Announced by PLCB

Eighth Auction of Expired Restaurant Licenses Announced by PLCB

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) issued an invitation for bids to award 25 expired restaurant licenses in the eighth license auction since Act 39 became effective in August 2016. Bids for this restaurant license auction are due by noon Monday, March 25.

This auction includes one license in each of the following 25 counties: Berks, Blair, Bucks, Clearfield, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Huntingdon, Lackawanna, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Lycoming, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Pike, Sullivan, Venango, Wayne, and Westmoreland.

The eighth auction will again use a sealed bid process, which has so far resulted in winning bids on 235 licenses offered in previous auctions. Bids will be opened Thursday, March 28, and auction winners will be determined soon thereafter.

The minimum bid for each license is $25,000, and each bid must be accompanied by a bid surety of $5,000 or 5 percent of the total bid amount – whichever is higher – to avoid frivolous and underfunded bids.

The highest responsive bidder for each license will win the right to submit an application for the license to the PLCB within six months of auction award. If bid payment is not received within two weeks of auction award, the second-highest bidder will have the opportunity to apply for the license. Bids will be held in escrow by the PLCB, pending approval of the license application.

Bidders with questions regarding this invitation for bids must submit inquiries via email to RA-LBLicenseAuction@pa.gov by noon Monday, Feb. 11. Questions and answers will be posted to the Department of General Services e-marketplace website by 3:00 PM Thursday, Feb. 14.

Lists of winning bids from each of the seven previous auctions are available on the license auction page of the PLCB website. Auction revenue recognized thus far from all previous auctions totals $24.1 million, while another $4.9 million remains in escrow, pending license approvals.

The PLCB regulates the distribution of beverage alcohol in Pennsylvania, operates more than 600 wine and spirits stores statewide, and licenses 20,000 alcohol producers, retailers, and handlers. The PLCB also works to reduce and prevent dangerous and underage drinking through partnerships with schools, community groups, and licensees. Taxes and store profits – totaling $16.5 billion since the agency’s inception – are returned to Pennsylvania’s General Fund, which finances Pennsylvania’s schools, health and human services programs, law enforcement, and public safety initiatives, among other important public services. The PLCB also provides financial support for the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, other state agencies, and local municipalities across the state. For more information about the PLCB, visit lcb.pa.gov.

By in Latest News Comments Off on Sen. Alloway announces retirement

Sen. Alloway announces retirement

Sen. Rich Alloway

After serving in the Pennsylvania Senate for 10 years, Senator Richard Alloway II (R-33) announced today that he will retire effective February 28.

“All of us here at the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association wish Rich the very best as he moves into the next chapter of his career and life,” said Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association.

Alloway, who in a previous career worked for the Pennsylvania Tavern Association as executive director, issued the following statement regarding his decision:

“It has been an honor and a privilege to hold this position and to be the voice for local communities in Harrisburg for the past decade in the Senate. I am extremely grateful for the trust that has been placed in me by community residents, and from the bottom of my heart, I thank all of my constituents for giving me that amazing opportunity and for helping me to be a better elected official.

“I treasure the personal relationships that I have forged over the years with various citizens and with my colleagues in the Capitol. Every single one holds a special place in my heart. However, our forefathers never envisioned public service as a lifetime vocation. After a decade of fighting to ensure our interests are represented in the General Assembly, the time has come for me to move on to other endeavors and pursue new opportunities. I wish all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle nothing but the best.”

Alloway served on the Senate Republican leadership team as Majority Caucus Secretary since 2014. He was responsible for overseeing and reviewing all executive nominations submitted to the Senate for confirmation. He previously served as Senate Majority Caucus Administrator and as Chairman of the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee, where he authored several laws to protect sportsmen and promote outdoor activities.

Alloway was among the legislature’s strongest supporters of Second Amendment rights and was the leading advocate for passage of Libre’s Law, legislation to protect animals against abuse and neglect.

PennLive reported that Alloway is leaving office with nearly two years left in his third term. A special election later this year for his constituents in Franklin and Adams counties, plus small portions of York and Cumberland, will need to be conducted.

To read Alloway’s official news release on his retirement, click here.

 

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By in Latest News Comments Off on Key Committees Fill Chair Positions At State Capitol

Key Committees Fill Chair Positions At State Capitol

With the start of a new legislative session, several key committees of importance to bar owners, employees, and customers recently filled important committee chair positions. The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association regularly tracks and follows the activities of these committees on behalf of Members.

Those committees include

Senate Law and Justice

  • Republicans recently named Sen. Pat Stefano (R-32)as majority chair. First elected to represent the 32nd Senatorial District in November of 2014 in his first run for public office.
  • Sen. James Brewster returns as the minority chair.  Sen. Brewster was elected to the State Senate in 2010 to represent the 45th Senatorial District in parts of Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.
  • A full list of committee members on the Senate Law and Justice Committee can be found by clicking here.

House Liquor Control Committee

  • Rep. Jeff Pyle (R-Armstrong/Butler/Indiana) was named Liquor Chair in the House. He has been in the House since 2005. During the last legislative session, Rep. Pyle served as the House Majority Chairman of the Gaming Control and Oversight Committee.
  • Rep. Dan Deasy (D-Allegheny County) was named as the minority chair. Deasy was recently sworn in for his 6th term. In the past, he has served on the Gaming Oversight Committee.
  • The Liquor Control Committee is responsible for issues relating to the administration of alcoholic beverage licenses and the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages.

Senate Community, Economic, and Recreational Development Committee

  • Sen. Mario Scavello (R-40) was chosen by the Republicans to lead the Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee.
  • Sen. Scavello’s counterpart on the committee will be Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia), who takes the minority chair position.
  • Sen. Scavello currently serves as State Senator for Pennsylvania’s 40th Senatorial District, representing portions of Monroe and Northampton Counties. Prior to his election to the Senate, he served more than a decade in the House of Representatives, representing Monroe County’s 176th Legislative District.
  • Sen. Farnese was first elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate in 2008 and reelected to his third term in 2016 to represent the First Senatorial District.
  • This committee oversees gaming issues.
  • A full committee list can be found by clicking here.

House Gaming Oversight Committee

  • Rep. Jim Marshall (R-Beaver/Butler) is now the House Majority Chair of the Gaming Control and Oversight Committee.  Rep. Marshall has been a House member since 2007. This assignment is Marshall’s first as a committee chairman. He previously served on the House Transportation, Environmental Resources and Energy, Liquor Control, and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committees.
  • Rep. Scott Conklin (D-Centre) was chosen by Democrats to serve as the minority chair. Conklin was recently sworn in for his 7th term.
  • The Gaming Oversight Committee oversees slot machine gaming, bingo, small games of chance, amusement laws and table games in Pennsylvania. In addition to its legislative responsibilities, the committee has oversight of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and aspects that deal with gaming within the Department of Revenue, the Office of Attorney General and the Pennsylvania State Police.

“We congratulate all and look forward to working with each committee on issues of importance to customers, owners, and employees of Pennsylvania bars, taverns, and lounges,” said Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association.

 

By in Latest News Comments Off on Holla Spirits joins PLBTA as Associate Member

Holla Spirits joins PLBTA as Associate Member

Holla Spirits, LLC, a Pennsylvania-based distilled spirits producer, has joined the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association as an associate member in support of the state’s bars, taverns, and lounges.

“We are very pleased to have this rising star of the vodka industry as a Member,” said Chuck Moran, executive director of the PLBTA. “Holla Spirits is an award-winning company producing quality products that customers seek. With an outstanding management team, Holla is a true winner in the industry.”

Patrick Shorb and Matt Glaser started HOLLA Spirits. According to Bar Business Magazine, Holla provides an alternative for those interested in a fun, fresh, rebellious, unpretentious, and affordable vodka for a new era. The Tipsy Bartender listed Holla Spirits as one of “11 millennial alcoholic drinks that are the future of booze.”

Shorb and Glaser have received recognition for their Holla products including a gold medal in the 2017 Las Vegas Global Spirits Competition and silver medal in the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

 

By in Latest News Comments Off on Governor Announces $791,000 in PLCB Grants for Developing, Promoting Pennsylvania Beers

Governor Announces $791,000 in PLCB Grants for Developing, Promoting Pennsylvania Beers

Governor Tom Wolf recently announced the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) has approved grants totaling $791,412 for 12 projects to increase the production of Pennsylvania-made malt and brewed beverages and enhance the Pennsylvania beer industry through promotion, marketing, and research-based programs and projects.

“Increasing the quality, production, and sale of malt and brewed beverages produced in Pennsylvania is vital not only to our growing beer industry, but these improvements also enhance agricultural and tourism opportunities in the Commonwealth,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “These grants will explore how agriculture can better support brewers, give new tools and resources to beer makers, and ultimately help improve the craft beer experience for Pennsylvania consumers.”

Act 39 of 2016 created the Pennsylvania Malt and Brewed Beverages Industry Promotion Board and authorized the PLCB to approve up to $1 million annually for development and marketing of the Pennsylvania beer industry.

To read more about the 12 grant recipients, click here.

By in Latest News Comments Off on License demand slowing, claims business journal

License demand slowing, claims business journal

The Central Penn Business Journal reported in its December 7 edition that since the state’s first license auction in November 2016 the number of bids per auction along with the highest winning bids have dropped.

The first auction had 134 bids with the highest winning bid at $556,000. Two years later in November 2018, only 51 bids were received with the highest winning bid of $176,001. Overall the average winning bid has decreased from $212,000 to $73,915.

In the last two auctions, a total of 58 licenses were up for sale, but 13 received no bids.

Many of the large retailers dominated the early auctions, particularly in growing areas including suburban Philadelphia and Cumberland County.

The news organization also reported that there are still nearly 1,000 idle liquor licenses across the state. The article stated that state liquor regulators plan to continue holding auctions for expired licenses.

PLBTA member Mick Owens of Mick’s All American Pub and Maize Mexican Cantina was quoted in the story saying “The liquor license is an asset. It shows on your books. It’s a physical, tangible thing.”

He praised the auction process as a way to get dead licenses back into the marketplace, but also shared concerns about the high prices being a barrier to entry for small start ups. “The only people who can afford $500,000 for a license are the big players coming in and opening 300- to 400-seat restaurants,” he said.

By in Latest News Comments Off on Pennsylvania Observer: Avoiding Cross-Contamination

Pennsylvania Observer: Avoiding Cross-Contamination

The following is republished from the December 2018 edition of the Pennsylvania Observer, the official magazine of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association.

Foodborne illness affects about 48 million people every year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A large number of these people – roughly 128,000 – will go to the hospital, and 3,000 will die.

Not all of this is caused by cross-contamination, and not all is the result of bad kitchen management in a restaurant or bar. But the CDC says foodborne illness outbreaks are more likely to begin at restaurants than a person’s home.

Alarmingly, industry statistics show a lack of knowledge on how to prevent cross-contamination. A study published in 2017 that was conducted by the Environmental Health Specialists Network of the CDC indicated many restaurants were not following U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Code guidance regarding chicken cross-contamination prevention. Many managers lacked basic food safety knowledge about chicken.

In fact, 40 percent of managers said that they never, rarely, or only sometimes designate certain cutting boards for raw meat. One-third said they did not wash and rinse surfaces before sanitizing them. And, more than half of the managers surveyed did not know the temperature to which raw chicken needed to be cooked before it would be safe to eat.

Charles L. Lowe, MD, a physician with Geisinger Holy Spirit Primary Care in Mechanicsburg, Pa., says it’s a smart idea for taverns and restaurants to do everything possible to keep their patrons safe.

“We’ve all seen the headlines about people getting sick after eating at a certain restaurant,” Dr. Lowe says. “Serious health issues can develop from foodborne illnesses, which is why it’s paramount for restaurant and tavern owners to do everything possible to keep their patrons from getting sick.”

So, what should a tavern owner do to make sure patrons don’t experience a night of misery ranging from nausea and stomach cramps to vomiting and diarrhea … or even worse hospitalization or death?

Consider the following:

  1. Prep and handle each food type with separate pieces of equipment. For example, if you’re using a cutting board to slice raw chicken, don’t use that same board next to slice beef.
  2. Keep hands clean. Employees need to wash their hands regularly, especially after using a restroom or handling raw meat, poultry, or seafood. That means lathering all parts of their hands up to their elbows with soap, scrubbing for about 20 seconds, and rinsing with warm running water.
  3. Use paper towels or hand dryers, not clothing, to dry off hands. It’s tempting to use a shirt or apron to dry hands, but it’s not a good choice.
  4. Have a personal hygiene program in place. In addition to proper handwashing, wearing clean clothing every day, use hair restraints, and prohibit jewelry from being worn.
  5. You may recall a past ‘Tavern Age’ article in Pennsylvania Observer that covered flu season. Well, personal health is another area of concern. Don’t let employees report to work sick. And, if they have any cuts or surgical wounds, make sure they cover them with appropriate bandaging.
  6. Clean, clean, clean! All work surfaces, equipment, and utensils should be sanitized after each use. That goes beyond just rinsing something off.

 

By in Latest News Comments Off on ProSight Brokerage and PA Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association Partner to Bring Liquor Liability Insurance Product to State Taverns

ProSight Brokerage and PA Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association Partner to Bring Liquor Liability Insurance Product to State Taverns

(Monday, December 3, 2018) Today, officials from the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association (PLBTA) and ProSight Specialty Insurance (ProSight), through ProSight Specialty Insurance Brokerage (ProSight Brokerage), its insurance brokerage arm announced a partnership to bring the state’s taverns and bars new offerings for liquor and other types of liability insurance.

Visit https://prosightbrokerage.com/patavern/ for a quote.

This unique program, being offered to members of the PLBTA, is expected to bring substantial value, in providing insurance protection to Pennsylvania bar and tavern owners at affordable rates.

“ProSight offers quality insurance products and has extensive experience across the country within the nightlife industry,” said Chuck Moran, executive director of the PLBTA. “Working with ProSight will be a tremendous help to Pennsylvania bar and tavern owners seeking the right insurance protection they need.”

Moran continued, “When we were reviewing all possible preferred vendors, ProSight stood out for several reasons and is a really good fit for our membership. I believe those who take advantage of this special arrangement will be pleased.”

ProSight is known across the country for providing value to businesses with P&C insurance needs, which includes small businesses owners. Members of the PLBTA gain exceptional value with access to an insurance partner for comprehensive, customizable benefits and innovative solutions for general and liquor liability, workers’ compensation, auto, crime, employee benefits and more. Customers receive an exceptional customer experience with the expertise of ProSightBrokerage.

“We’re excited to work with the PLBTA and its members,” said Ric Victores, President of ProSight Brokerage. “In today’s business world, it’s important to have the right insurance protection. We can deliver a one-stop shop and offer what Pennsylvania bar and tavern owners need through quality products.”

Bar and tavern owners can check out ProSight Brokerage℠ and the PLBTA insurance offering at https://prosightbrokerage.com/patavern/.

 

About Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association

The PLBTA is a statewide association based in Harrisburg, representing bar and tavern owners at the state capitol. In addition to being the statewide voice of retail liquor licensees at the capitol, the organization provides members opportunities for preferred rates and discounts through carefully selected industry vendors.

 

About ProSight Specialty Insurance

ProSight Specialty Insurance is an innovative property and casualty insurance company that designs solutions to help customers solve their business problems. Each solution is targeted to enhance customers’ operating performance. ProSight focuses on select niche industries, deploying differentiated underwriting and claims expertise and then works exclusively with specialized distributors to deliver value. ProSight is fueled by a cultural desire to succeed at uncommon challenges, making the business performance of its customers a top priority. The underwriting members of the ProSight Specialty Insurance (ProSight) group, New York Marine and General Insurance Company, Southwest Marine and General Insurance Company, and Gotham Insurance Company, are rated “A-” (Excellent) by A.M. Best.  Based in Morristown, NJ, ProSight has regional offices in Los Angeles, CA, Petaluma, CA, Alpharetta, GA and New York, NY. More information about ProSight and its member insurers can be found at www.prosightspecialty.com.

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By in Latest News Comments Off on CDC update on e.Coli / romaine lettuce situation

CDC update on e.Coli / romaine lettuce situation

Based on new information as of the evening of November 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention narrowed its warning to consumers. The CDC is now advising that U.S. consumers not eat and retailers and restaurants not serve or sell any romaine lettuce harvested from the Central Coastal growing regions of northern and central California. If you do not know where the romaine is from, do not eat it.

Restaurants and retailers should check the label on bags or boxes of romaine lettuce, or ask their suppliers about the source of their romaine lettuce. Do not sell or serve any romaine lettuce harvested from the Central Coastal growing regions of northern and central California. If you do not know where your romaine lettuce was harvested, do not sell or serve it.

Since the last CDC update on November 20, an additional 11 ill people have been included in this investigation. Forty-three people infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coliO157:H7 have been reported from 12 states.

Restaurants should wash and sanitize drawers and shelves in refrigerators where recalled romaine was stored. The CDC recommends the following steps to clean your refrigerator.

  1. Throw out recalled food
  2. Empty your refrigerator
  3. Wash removable parts
  4. Clean and sanitize the inside of your refigerator
  5. Wipe food and drink containers with warm, soapy water before returning to the clean refrigerator.

To read the CDC’s latest update, click here.

 

By in Latest News Comments Off on PA DOH to restaurants: Do not serve any romaine lettuce

PA DOH to restaurants: Do not serve any romaine lettuce

An E.coli outbreak is causing concern and a warning from the Pennsylvania Department of Health to not eat or serve any romaine lettuce.

The state DOH warning came shortly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health alert indicating they and others are investigating a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. coli O157:H7) infections linked to romaine lettuce.

According to the alert, the CDC advised U.S. consumers not eat any romaine lettuce, and retailers and restaurants not serve or sell any, until more is known about the outbreak. This investigation is ongoing and the advice will be updated as more information is available.

This advice includes all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad.

Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing romaine.

Thirty-two people infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coliO157:H7 have been reported from 11 states.

To read the CDC advisory, click here.