Remembering the Great Beer Pour War of 2013: Bank Street Brewhouse, the Floyd County Health Department and the flight of the bureaucrats.

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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.

“HOUSE ENROLLED ACT No. 1311, AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning alcohol and tobacco.”

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]:

Sec. 30.

(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.

2014

October 9, 2014: Not only that, but I even washed my hands before pressing “send.”

October 6, 2014: A message to Harvest Homecoming food vendors about temporary food (and beer) service fees.

June 2, 2014: Is Hot Water More Effective than Cold for Washing Tom Harris Right Out of My Hair?

May 27, 2014: A fresh round of bald-faced lies from the Floyd County Health Department’s resident Red Shirts.

April 9, 2014: Rick Fox speaks the prettiest public access language I’ve ever heard. Is that Mark Seabrook I hear chortling?

February 28, 2014: The Floyd County Health Department admits to being mistaken … in only one instance, but hey, it’s a start.

FALL AND WINTER 2013

December 28, 2013: In which the Floyd County Health Department ignores the Attorney General of the state of Indiana.

December 21, 2013: N and T: “State: Floyd County Health Department shouldn’t require permit.”

December 11, 2013: Complete text: “Floyd County/ New Albany ordinance issue in violation of IC 7.1-3-9-2, 7.1-3-9-6″

December 10, 2013: Banner headline Tuesday, Part One: In the matter of PourGate, total and unequivocal defeat for the Floyd County Health Department.

November 16, 2013: Your PourGate update for Saturday, November 16: A waiting game.

September 7, 2013: Yo, Floyd County Health Department, your invoice is ready. Cash only, please. I’m not sure I trust your checks.

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 2013

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 16, 2013: When pressed by Eater Louisville and N and T, FCHD unable to get its story straight.

August 15, 2013: ON THE AVENUES: When the whip comes down.

August 15, 2013: Solid News and Tribune story places spotlight on the Health Department’s chronic disingenuousness.

August 14, 2013: Citizen to FCHD: “I will not stand for our public officials and public departments to promote … public bullying.

August 14, 2013: Your Wednesday PourGate Update: Health department spins the web site wheel twice on Tuesday.

August 14, 2013: GAW News: “Pride of the Dipshits (UPDATE) Floyd County Health Department.”

August 13, 2013: Now the Floyd County Health Department is working to keep food safe from Roger — not E coli.

August 13, 2013: Floyd County Health Department adds photo of handsome devil to its web site, but retains actionable photo.

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 13, 2013: NABC to Floyd County Commissioners, Health Department: “Cease and desist.”

August 12, 2013: At Eater Louisville: “Floyd County Health Department Uses Bank Street Brewhouse to set ‘Foodborne Diseases’ Photo Shoot.”

August 8, 2013: ON THE AVENUES: The fruitless search for adults in county government.

August 7, 2013: Midweek PourGate update: What’s up with the Health Department these days?

August 3, 2013: Hegemony in action.

August 2, 2013: Local citizen journalist views health department’s web site retaliation and expresses revulsion.

August 2, 2013: Equal protection from health department bureaucrats? Just give that wheel a heave.

August 1, 2013: ON THE AVENUES: “Kneel and Kiss My Ring, You Degraded Alcoholic.”

JULY 2013

July 31, 2013: Got trench warfare if they want it.

July 30, 2013: Clear as mud: Floyd County Health Dept. Hearing Appeals Board has many feelings, but not very much law.

July 30, 2013: Dr. Tom plays his Goebbels card. Can Neidermeyer be far behind?

July 29, 2013: Guest column: “The Health Department’s Pussy Riot.”

July 28, 2013: In the search for Instigator Zero, expect papers to be shredded.

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 25, 2013: These magic moments: Health department board, 5:30 p.m., today.

July 24, 2013: Let’s see if a formal complaint will do the trick.

July 24, 2013: The hearing is tomorrow, but the Floyd County Health Department is stonewalling about its public access obligations.

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.

July 1, 2013: Where bureaucrats are bureaucrats … and yeast are scared.

July 1, 2013: Tuneless zombie bureaucrats? These and more pesky facts at Louisville Beer Dot Com.

JUNE 2013

June 29, 2013: Democrats address “controversy” over Health Department’s actions.

June 29, 2013: BicenPk concert of Jun 28: Let’s just Occupy the Health Department.

June 28, 2013: Concert tonight, but the PourGate saga continues as we prepare to vend Progressive Pints under protest.

June 28, 2013: I’m a voyeur. I was there to watch the show, not instigate it.

June 27, 2013: My note to the Indiana Public Access Counselor, informing the office of my request of the Floyd County Health Department.

June 26, 2013: Health Department refers public access request to same attorney who advises commissioners — making a full circle.

June 26, 2013: “In an effort to facilitate seemingly scant communication,” my e-mail to Dr. Harris.

June 25, 2013: Isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society?

June 24, 2013: Updating the Floyd County Health Department’s “Beer Pour War” of 2013.

June 22, 2013: Roger has issued a Indiana Public Access request to the Floyd County Health Department.

June 22, 2013: Bureaucrats, potato chips and the need for a city health department.

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 20, 2013: ON THE AVENUES: The long train of usurpations adds a caboose.

June 20, 2013: Health Department’s revenue enhancement + Develop New Albany’s event calendar = ?

June 19, 2013: No parking lot for bicycles.

June 19, 2013: Preview: NABC’s appeal to the Floyd County Health Department.

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.

June 16, 2013: Another day, another Floyd County Health Department power grab.

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