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By in Latest News Comments Off on PLCB tips to avoid the most common citations

PLCB tips to avoid the most common citations

In an effort to help bars, restaurants, and taverns better understand various liquor laws and how to avoid fines and penalties, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has put together a list of the most common citation issues.  The five Liquor Code violations below are those for which licensees most frequently receive citations from the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement.  Following each violation, we provide clarification on what the law requires and some tips on how to remain compliant.

Sales to Minors.
The Liquor Code expressly prohibits sales of alcohol to anyone under the age of 21, requires retail licensees to take steps to prevent sales to minors and provides penalties for licensees that sell to underage patrons.

To avoid sales to minors:

  • Develop and enforce strong policies regarding carding criteria (many retail licensees now employ 100 percent carding policies) and mandatory reporting of fraudulent IDs. Also develop a strong employee discipline policy for when carding and reporting policies are ignored or violated.
  • Provide continued training for employees, like RAMP server/seller training, and keep abreast of changes to ID formats and security features.
  • Utilize equipment like ID swipe devices and UV lights to check licenses.

Board-Approved Manager Failed to Complete RAMP Training within 180 Days.
The Liquor Code requires all managers to complete RAMP Owner/Manager training within 180 days of being appointed.  To avoid citation and ensure your new managers are trained timely, establish a RAMP compliance policy and implement a system to track deadlines any time a new manager is hired.  Also note that any change in the Board-approved manager must be reported to the PLCB within 15 days of the change.  And as a reminder, RAMP server/seller training must also be completed within six months of hiring a new alcohol service employee.

Illegal Gambling or Devices.
Relative to retail licensees, the only legal forms of gambling are Pennsylvania Lottery sales and small games of chance, including tavern gaming. Gambling like sports betting pools, quarter auctions and poker nights are illegal, as are any gambling devices that rely on a player’s skill to award prizes.

Certain games (pull tabs, daily drawings and raffles, for example), are legal, but only for clubs that obtain small games of chance licenses from county treasurers and retail licensees that apply for and obtain tavern gaming licenses from the PLCB.  Small games of chance and tavern games both have rules governing how often they can be conducted, how money derived from them can be used and record-keeping.  Tavern gaming licensees also have tax obligations specific to those games.

Permitted Smoking.
Since 2008, indoor smoking in public places, including bars and restaurants, is generally prohibited.  To avoid citation, post signage that clearly indicates smoking won’t be tolerated, and provide continued training and discipline for employees to ensure the no-smoking policy is enforced.

No Valid Health Permit.
All retail liquor licensees must maintain a current and valid health permit issued by the local permitting authority.  Implement a system to track expiration dates and filing deadlines to avoid permit lapse and potential citation.

Establishments with questions regarding licensing matters may contact the PLCB Bureau of Licensing at or 717-783-8250.


This column was written by Rodrigo Diaz, PLCB Chief Counsel; Tisha Albert, PLCB Director of Regulatory Affairs; and Elizabeth Brassell, PLCB Director of Policy & Communications. The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association thanks each for contributing these tips to help our Members avoid penalties.


By in Latest News Comments Off on Dining Alliance, PLBTA partner to bring buying power to state taverns and bars

Dining Alliance, PLBTA partner to bring buying power to state taverns and bars

Dining Alliance, a group purchasing organization (GPO), has joined forces with the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association (PLBTA) to help small business establishments save costs on items ranging from French fries to napkins.

With about 165,000 line items with cash back available, Dining Alliance is currently the largest GPO in the United States, working with more than 350 food manufacturers.  Currently, about 50,000 restaurants, bars, and taverns are members of Dining Alliance.

Members of the PLBTA will be able to join Dining Alliance at no cost. Those interested in this cash-back program should visit

“Dining Alliance has captured cash back opportunities on products purchased by mom-and-pop establishments,” said Chuck Moran, executive director of the PLBTA. “Through our relationship with Dining Alliance, our Members will now be able to tap buying power and take advantage of cash-back programs.”

Moran says there’s more good news for his Members. In addition to cash-back savings, those belonging to the PLBTA will also have access to Dining Alliance’s “Beyond Prime” program, which offers discounts to owners and employees on items ranging from tv providers to work shoes.

“We’re happy to have the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association join us as a channel partner,” said Joe Schlesman, vice president of sales at Dining Alliance. “Our services will open the door for Pennsylvania’s bars and taverns to be more successful in their business operations.”

By in Latest News Comments Off on Bar sued for allowing cover songs without a music license

Bar sued for allowing cover songs without a music license

Riverfront Times reported on February 4, 2019, that St. Louis-based JP’s Corner Bar has been sued by BMI for “allowing bands to perform copyrighted cover songs within its walls despite not being licensed to do so.”

According to the music blog written by Daniel Hill, BMI sent multiple communications to the establishment before taking this course of action.

Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, says that while this legal action is happening in another state, it could someday happen in the Keystone State.

“It’s in the best interest of an establishment to take such warnings seriously,” he said. “Those who belong to our Association can take advantage of BMI discounts as a benefit of membership. Having a music license will help establishments so that they’re not the next legal headline.”

Moran adds that PLBTA members can save up to 20 percent off annual music licensing fees (5% member discount, 5% online payment discount, 10% timely payment discount). For more info visit or call (800) 925-8451

In addition to a discount from BMI, the PLBTA has a number of preferred vendors offering discounts, exclusive offers, or special member pricing. To see all preferred vendors, click here.





By in Latest News Comments Off on PLBTA Board Elects Officers for 2019

PLBTA Board Elects Officers for 2019

(Harrisburg, Pa. – February 6, 2019)  The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association (PLBTA) Board of Directors elected officers for 2019 during its February Board meeting.

New officers include

  • Curtis Mason, President – Mason’s family owns establishments in Chester County. He was elected to a two-year term. In the past, he has served the organization as vice president.
  • Thomas Tyler, Vice President – Tyler is owner of McStew’s Irish Pub in Levittown. He was elected to a two-year term.
  • Michelle Ritter, Secretary – Ritter is owner of Willow Street Pub in Coplay. She was elected to a one-year term.

In addition, the Board appointed Jonathan Grimes to the position of treasurer. Grimes is owner of Jonathan’s Restaurant in Wilkes Barre.

All newly elected officers started their positions immediately.

Other Board members include Jim DeLisio of the Racehorse Tavern in York, Randy Hull of Hull’s Landing in Muncy, and Jerry McArdle of Jack’s Tavern in Media.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association represents retail liquor licensees in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Association formed after Prohibition in 1941 to ensure the legality, protection, and prosperity of the state’s liquor and beer retail licensed businesses.

From corner bars, delis and neighborhood taverns to five-star restaurants and resorts, PLBTA’s industry supports more than 100,000 Commonwealth jobs, and remains an established, important part of our communities. To learn more about the PLBTA, visit Or follow the organization on Twitter via @TavernPA.


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By in Latest News Comments Off on Pennsylvania Observer February Tip

Pennsylvania Observer February Tip

The Secret Ingredient
It helped one PLBA Member success for decades … and it still works

By Erica Bloch
Marketing and Public Relations Manager
Woodloch Resort, Member of the PLBTA

Since we opened more than 60 years ago, our family-owned and operated resort has been founded on the service concept of a place “where everybody knows your name.” The Woodloch Family’s enduring dedication to the very personalized treatment of guests is what truly sets it apart from other resorts.

If we’ve learned anything over decades of ownership, we’ve learned the value of great customer service.

All staff are trained to follow Woodloch’s original mission to “treat all guests as if they were company in their own homes.” Each carry on a tradition of excellence and warm hospitality.

Woodloch vacations are built on the concept of “togethering,” or bringing loved ones together, spending time with one another, and creating memories to last a lifetime. Combine a nostalgic, back-to-basics environment with pristine natural surroundings and a unique array of home-grown, team-building type activities for families put on by a team of genuinely devoted staff members, it is no wonder that guests leave Woodloch with a renewed sense of connection with their own families.

So, what are the secret ingredients to great customer service? Consider the following:

  • Go beyond customer expectations – guests expect staff to be courteous, helpful and friendly. What can you do that goes a step further?
  • Take a complaint seriously, even if it’s a minor one – these are opportunities to learn your shortcomings, and make improvements.
  • Empower your employees – guests expect solutions, not an excuse that the manager isn’t available.
  • Scripting isn’t customer service, it’s a turn-off – guests are looking for sincere human interaction, not something that sounds programmed or rehearsed.

Whether someone is visiting your establishment for business or pleasure, the level of customer service helps determine whether or not to come back. Great service may make them write a wonderful online review, while a bad experience will cause them to warn friends to avoid your business.

Today, potential customers have a ton of options. Be the one they choose by having great customer service.

The above article is reprinted from the February 2019 edition of our magazine – The Pennsylvania Observer. The article was written by Erica Bloch of Woodloch Resort, a Member of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. The Pennsylvania Observer is a benefit of Membership and is delivered to valued Members monthly. Not a member? Download an application by clicking here.







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 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

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.