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By in Latest News Comments Off on Pennsylvania Tavern Talk YouTube Channel Launched

Pennsylvania Tavern Talk YouTube Channel Launched

https://www.youtube.com/@pennsylvaniataverntalkbyChuck

Pennsylvania taverns now have their own YouTube channel to help the Keystone State’s bar owners learn more about happenings at the State Capitol as well as other industry news.

The channel — Pennsylvania Tavern Talk — can be found by clicking here.

“YouTube Channels created by vloggers are very popular for entertainment and educational purposes,” said Chuck Moran, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. “I created this channel to have another vehicle to get the word out about issues bar owners are facing while also giving bar owners a place to go and learn more about issues.”

In the inaugural vlog, posted on January 23, 2023, Moran takes a look at a co-sponsorship memo from State Representative Sheryl Delozier. In this memo, she indicates soon she’ll be re-introducing legislation that would allow minors who are musicians to play in Pennsylvania’s licensed establishments.

That vlog can be accessed directly via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0Op026u19g.

According to Moran, the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association regularly tracks a few hundred bills at the State Capitol during each two-year legislative cycle. Education on some of those bills can be easily transformed into a vlog.

As far as future vlogs, Moran says he’ll be looking closely at all co-sponsorship memos and bills, but also wants to take a look at how Pennsylvania bar owners are being squeezed by inflation, legislatively created competition, and outdated liquor code that doesn’t allow flexibility to find new revenue streams.

For now, he invites those interested to subscribe to the channel and look for future vlogs.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association is the state’s political voice for family-owned, small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants.

 

By in Latest News Comments Off on It’s Slip and Fall Claims Season

It’s Slip and Fall Claims Season

By Lynne Kelly, AIC
Loss Control Specialist
Illinois Casualty Company

Now that winter is here, it is important for business owners to keep in mind the potential hazards that snow, ice, and cold temperatures could bring. Here are some suggestions that may help reduce safety hazards and potential claims:

  • Check your parking lots and sidewalks for potholes and low areas where ice could collect and cause a slip/trip hazard.
  • Remove the accumulation of leaf debris and trash which may cause a fire hazard near smoking receptacles or kitchen exhaust fans. Wet leaves on walkways could also create a slip hazard.
  • Walk the property after dark to determine if public areas are well-lit and to identify fixtures or bulbs that are no longer working and need to be repaired or replaced.
  • Confirm that you have snow shovels and ice melt to clear snow and ice from sidewalks, entrances, and exits. Don’t be caught by surprise when the sleet/snow begins to fall.
  • Hire a snow removal service or ready your equipment if you are handling yourself.
  • Throughout the property, confirm that handrails are installed where needed and those that are present are secured. Handrails are especially important when steps and sidewalks are slick with ice and snow.
  • Post signs in areas that are susceptible to ice and snow accumulation and have sand or kitty litter available to cover icy patches.
  • Address winter weather driving safety with your delivery staff to reduce vehicle accidents and injuries.
  • Have extra non-slip mats on premises to add when conditions are wet to reduce slip and trip hazards.

Illinois Casualty Company is the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association’s exclusive preferred vendor for businessowners and liquor liability insurance products. Qualifying Members can save up to 10% on their businessowners and liquor liability insurance. This story has been republished with permission in our monthly magazine, Pennsylvania Beverage Media. To locate an ICC agent in your area, visit www.ilcasco.com.

By in Latest News Comments Off on Top 5 PLBTA Actions of 2022

Top 5 PLBTA Actions of 2022

As a statewide organization whose primary purpose is to advocate for Pennsylvania’s small business and family-owned bars, taverns, and licensed restaurants, we’re always trying to measure ourselves by asking a simple question … did we make a difference for our Members?

There are many moving pieces that test our abilities. And, throughout a two-year legislative cycle, our Association tracks about 175-200 bills and sponsorship memos. Some of these bills would be good for our Members and some that would not be. However, only a few of these bills will become law, meaning you really have to have the stars aligned and be on your game to get something to the finish line.

But, despite the challenges we face, the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association can confidently say that we were one of only a few associations in the liquor space that got a legislative agenda item signed by the Governor.

We have a sharp Board of Directors made up of industry peers who understand “inside baseball” at the state capitol. We have an excellent lobbyist in John Nikoloff, who keeps our name and issues in front of politicians on a daily basis. And, we are effective in our public affairs work, reaching out to traditional and non-traditional media throughout the state to bang the drum a little louder on issues of importance.

But everything isn’t about the politics of Harrisburg. We’re quite aware that Pennsylvania bars need to have the public’s trust and support the communities that support us.

When we reflect back on 2022, it’s easy to see how our secret sauce is a winner and is the reason why the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association is the leading voice in Pennsylvania for small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants.

Here’s our top success stories of 2022 …

  1. Act 67 of 2022: On July 11, Governor Tom Wolf signed HB 1615 into law and is now Act 67 of 2022. Attached to that bill, with help from Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill and others, was an amendment that created fairness for all liquor licensees by allowing all to have up to 75 decibels of sound on property lines during certain hours. We are happy to say that this was part of our legislative agenda for 2022.
  2. Coalition building to take on issues: On multiple occasions, we helped build teams of associations to fight for and sometimes against legislation. Coalition work included efforts to create competition with credit card swipe fees, fighting off threats against the tip credit as part of the minimum wage debate, finding solutions to beer transportation issues, and creating fairness with amplified sound liquor code to name a few. Some got to the finish line, while others are still in play. None-the-less, coalitions play an important role in our strategy.
  3. Official Summer Drink of 2022: In partnership with Holla Spirits and Uplifting Athletes, we declared the Official Summer Drink of 2022 to raise funds to help children with life-threatening illnesses. This program was recognized by Governor Wolf’s Office and helped build public trust as the leading voice of family-owned small business bars, taverns, and licensed restaurants. It also provided Members with a marketing opportunity to pull new customers into their businesses.
  4. Spoke out against a proposed constitutional amendment to privatize the state’s liquor industry: While we support privatization in philosophy, we were one of the first voices to speak up and protest against a constitutional amendment bill to do so. Supporting it would have been like taking a leap of faith, hoping the state government would later do the right thing to protect small businesses from being collateral damage. While some associations were in favor and willing to make that jump, we put our foot down and said no in order to protect our Members from unintended consequences. The bill did not move.
  5. Russian vodka: The invasion of Ukraine by Russia set off a string of boycotts, and one was Russian vodka. The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association was one of the first associations in the country to support a boycott of Russian vodka. This advocacy effort gained significant publicity across the country for the association.


Bonus Pick

TavernPAC: Our PAC saved up its funds to use in 2022 since it was an election year and unleashed the most political contributions we’ve given in recent years. Best yet, every state representative or senator running for re-election that received funds from TavernPAC won. That includes several in leadership positions in caucuses and committees.

By in Latest News Comments Off on Editorial: Help Us In Our Fight to Hold the Line on Prices

Editorial: Help Us In Our Fight to Hold the Line on Prices

Pass the Credit Card Competition Act of 2022

The following is a guest editorial that has been published in newspapers across Pennsylvania and sent to Sen. Pat Toomey. This guest editorial is part of a coalition effort that includes the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association, Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association, Pennsylvania Petroleum Association, and Malt Beverage Distributors Association of Pennsylvania.

Inflation continues to eat away at the budgets of our families here in Pennsylvania and across the nation. In many ways, our industries are on the front lines – we provide food, fuel, lodging, and community to families hard pressed to manage in these times. Because of this, we’re super sensitive to costs, and to not raising prices unless and until we’re forced to.

Accordingly, we examine every cost to us, that goes into the products and services we offer. Some of those costs are not in our control and our set by the companies we buy our inventory from. But there are other costs that can be reduced. Credit card swipe fees are one such cost and we’re joining together today to ask Congress to pass legislation now before the House and Senate, that would reduce these fees by enabling competition in the credit card payment network system.

Many consumers and businesses use credit cards daily to make purchases and manage cash. What many don’t realize is that every time we use a card, Visa, Mastercard, and the other big credit card companies charge on average between 2 and 4% of the total transaction cost. That’s a direct cost to consumers and it’s as big, or bigger, than the total markup charged by most grocery stores.

It may sound small, but it’s not. In fact, credit card swipe fees cost the average family around $900 every year, or about $75 per month – just to use the card you may already pay an annual fee to use, as well as interest on any balance owed. The reason is simple: Visa, Mastercard, and others own the payment networks that process credit card purchases. And, if we want to take credit cards, merchants must use their network.

No negotiation. Just pay up.

It’s anti-competitive and should be changed now.

That’s what the Credit Card Competition Act of 2022 would do: enable competing payment networks so merchants could choose the best option for their business, and for their customers. Reducing swipe fees would help us hold the line on rising prices and pass those savings along to our customers, and there are really no downsides.

Contrary to what the big credit card lobbyists are saying, enabling competing payment networks would not impact rewards programs, acceptability of cards, or consumer choice. It will create a more secure payment processing environment where there are backup networks available in the event of a problem.

But the big credit card companies are fighting this change in every way they can. That should come as no surprise as they raked in $138 billion dollars in swipe fees in 2021 alone. That’s over and above all the other fees consumers pay to use cards.

Credit card swipe fees are added to the cost of just about everything most of us buy. Merchants really have no choice but to do this so, even if you don’t use a card on a purchase, you’re still paying a portion of your cost to cover those fees. Take for example the cost of transportation. High swipe fees are eating into tight margins for gas stations and fuel providers who then have to pass on these costs to consumers and hire less people.

There’s simply no reason that this system should be allowed to continue. Congress should be fostering competition in the marketplace, not hidden monopolies like the credit card payment system. It’s a system that’s been broken for years. Now is the time to fix it.

We’re main street businesses…places people go almost every day. We’re close to the communities we serve, and we know what pressure family budgets are facing today as prices rise relentlessly. We’re committed to holding the line as best we can, and we’re asking Congress to help us by passing the Credit Card Competition Act today. It won’t fix the inflation problem, but it will help us do our part to hold the line for our families. Consumers need a break.

Pennsylvania Licensed  Beverage and Tavern Association

Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association

Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association

Pennsylvania Petroleum Association

Malt Beverage Distributors Association of Pennsylvania

By in Latest News Comments Off on Taverns Education: Extension Cord Safety Recommendations

Taverns Education: Extension Cord Safety Recommendations

Lynne Kelly

By Lynne Kelly, AIC
Loss Control Specialist
Illinois Casualty Company

Restaurants and bars are complicated operations with changing electrical needs. Often, during inspections, our Loss Control Specialists find that these needs are being met by use of extension cords and gang plugs, but their use is not a permanent solution and can prove to be a fire hazard. The following guidelines should be observed when using extension cords and power strips in any situation.

  • Extension cords and power strips/surge protectors/Relocatable Power Taps (RPTs) should not be used together.
  • Extension cords and power strips/surge protectors/RPTs should only be used for low power load equipment, such as computers and audio-visual equipment. They are not meant to be used for microwaves, refrigerators/freezers, toaster ovens, or space heaters. Use in this manner can cause equipment to overheat and may result in a fire.
  • Cords should be properly rated for the way they are being used and should be approved by an independent testing laboratory.
  • Extension cords should not be run through walls, doorways, ceilings, or floors. If cords are covered, heat cannot escape, which may result in a fire.
  • Extension cords should not be stapled or nailed to walls or baseboards.
  • Outdoor extension cords should be kept free of snow and standing water.
  • Gang plugs should not be used as they may overtax electrical systems and result in fire.
  • Extension cords and power strips are temporary, never meant to be used as a permanent solution, and should be unplugged from wall outlets when not in use.

A heavy reliance on extension cords, gang plugs, and power strips, surge protectors, or RPTs indicates that there are too few outlets to meet the needs of the operation. The best way to remedy this is to contact an electrician and have additional electrical outlets installed where needed.

ICC’s Loss Control Specialists are knowledgeable and consult with our insureds about these and other hazards during inspections to help protect their operations and property. To find an agent in your area, visit www.ilcasco.com/find-an-agent.

Illinois Casualty Company is the exclusive preferred vendor of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association for liquor liability and other business insurances. 

 

By in Latest News Comments Off on Confessions of an Insurance Rep: What We Look for Before Giving You a Price

Confessions of an Insurance Rep: What We Look for Before Giving You a Price

Avalon Thomas-Roebal

By Avalon Thomas-Roebal
Marketing Representative
Illinois Casualty Company

Illinois Casualty Company (ICC) has become a leading food and beverage carrier within a competitive marketplace since our inception in 1950. Our dedication to the industry has allowed ICC to understand the unique complexities of the niche and how to fine tune our rating structure to maintain profitability. Continued experience allows ICC to identify exposures distinctive to hospitality that other carriers likely do not recognize and has led to the development of a comprehensive rating system.

Some rating factors are quite standard. Other factors, which you may only see with ICC, have been applied because we are truly a specialty carrier. Though we can’t share our recipe for success, we can share how some ingredients may be more impactful than commonly thought. Knowledge of these exposures has allowed ICC to rate risks appropriately and provide consistent pricing to our insureds.

Property coverage premium continues to rise in all areas of insurance. What factors have a bigger impact on food and beverage accounts? Most carriers consider construction type and building age, but ICC also takes into consideration the years in business, onsite laundry facilities, seasonal operations, and security camera usage. These items all have rating relativities that modify property premium.

ICC is best known for our ability to profitably rate for liability coverage, especially liquor liability. Distinctive exposures in this product line may be unfamiliar to general carriers but second nature to those at ICC. For Businessowners Liability, years in business, prior management experience, and hours of operation are common factors, but ICC is not a common carrier. We have learned that the number of pool tables, buffet exposures, self-serve drink stations, cover charges, and trap door exposures also carry weight in determining pricing.

For example, a single pool table in a tavern is more likely to lead to an altercation than multiple pool tables. If you walk into a bar and notice a pool table, where do you see it? Typically, it is placed in a back corner, dimly lit, and commonly by restrooms and in a busy footpath. Those playing pool may encounter passerby bumps, spills, or patrons not respectful to the game environment. When alcohol is involved, or better yet, a $20 bet, these minor bumps and spills have a higher likelihood of becoming arguments. When establishments have multiple pool tables, the space tends to transform into a pool hall mindset with dedicated pool players and a designated playing environment, which in turn leads to more responsible participation.

Further experience in this niche has consistently shown that establishments located outside city limits have higher liability exposures. This is in part due to more patrons leaving by automobile and the establishment typically having lower drink prices, both factors that contribute to having a higher rating relativity. Insureds with buffets and/or self-service drink stations will have a higher probability of slip and falls. When customers serve themselves and spill something on the floor, they typically do not notify staff. If a server spills food or drink on the floor, they know it right away and can address it.

ICC’s Underwriting and Marketing Departments educate our agency partners on many of these exposures, while ICC’s Loss Control Specialists educate our insureds. Unique loss control recommendations based on our years of experience shine through during our inspection process. ICC requires a metal container to hold oily rags due to spontaneous combustion, we consider trap doors an undesirable exposure, and we follow the National Fire Protection Association requirements for fire suppression and hood and duct maintenance.

As an ICC Marketing Representative, I frequently field these common questions, “Why does Underwriting ask so many questions?” or “Why do your Loss Control Reps require additional recommendations?” Those answers are easy. We do so because ICC is a dedicated specialty carrier where we lead in industry knowledge, underwriting skill, and exposure identification, ultimately allowing ICC to provide consistent pricing for our insureds.

The rating factors ICC has developed demonstrate our deep understanding of the niche. We have led the industry in commitment and unparalleled service to hospitality, and our rating system and multifaceted underwriting approach reflects that dedication.

To find an ICC agent in your area, visit www.ilcasco.com/find-an-agent.

The above story was published in the November 2022 edition of Pennsylvania Beverage Media, the official magazine of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. Illinois Casualty Company is the PLBTA’s exclusive preferred vendor for liquor liability and other business insurance.

 

By in Latest News Comments Off on Taverns Education: What Types of IDs Are Acceptable?

Taverns Education: What Types of IDs Are Acceptable?

Not all forms of identification are created equal in the eyes of Pennsylvania Liquor Code. And, only a few forms are acceptable for use at a drinking establishment should the establishment wish to protect itself from accidentally serving a minor, or if the establishment is required to check IDs.

According to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, nothing in the Liquor Code or the PLCB’s regulations requires patrons to possess a valid form of identification while in a bar, tavern, nightclub, club, or any other type of licensed establishment.

However, there are exceptions, and furthermore, it’s a good practice to card patrons to avoid unintentionally serving someone who may be underage.

We should note that there’s nothing in the liquor code that would prohibit an establishment from instituting its own house rules for carding as long as those rules are not based upon illegally discriminatory reasons such as race, gender identity, or religion. So if you want to card everybody, you can. Just be sure to check the acceptable forms of identification.

The two exceptions when an establishment must check IDs include those with a wine expanded permit holder and those required to do so as a result of a conditional licensing agreement. Wine expanded permit holders must use a transaction scan device to verify age if that person appears to be under 35 years of age.

So, what is an acceptable form of identification if you are either required to check or if you wish to add an extra layer of protection so that your bartender doesn’t serve a minor?

Pennsylvania’s liquor code makes it clear that a valid photo driver’s license or identification card issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation or any other state is acceptable. In addition, a valid U.S. Armed Forces identification card or a valid passport or travel visa issued by the United States or a foreign country that contains the holder’s photograph can be accepted.

Act 39 of 2016 added Canadian driver’s licenses or other bona fide Canadian identification (such as a passport) to the list of acceptable forms of identification for use at a drinking establishments.

By in Latest News Comments Off on Taverns Education: Catering a ticketed event?

Taverns Education: Catering a ticketed event?

Let’s say you hold an off-premises catering permit (“OPCP”). Can you use your permit for an event taking place at a privately-owned concert venue where tickets will be sold. Or for that matter … any private event where tickets are being sold for entry?

According to a July 2022 Advisory Opinion from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the answer is that it depends.

As our Members know, holders of restaurant licenses and hotel licenses may apply for and obtain an OPCP, which allows the permittee to hold a “catered function” off its licensed premises and on otherwise unlicensed premises. A “catered function” is defined as “the furnishing of food prepared on the premises or brought onto the premises already prepared in conjunction with alcoholic beverages for the accommodation of a person or an identifiable group of people, not the general public, who made arrangements for the function at least thirty days in advance.”

Neither the owner of the property nor the OPCP applicant may sell tickets to a catered function unless one of the following conditions is met:

  • the applicant has contracted with an eligible entity for the function, and the function is being used to raise money for the eligible entity’s organization;
  • the applicant has contracted with a nonprofit organization as defined under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Public Law 99-514, 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3)), for an event which has the sole purpose of raising funds for that nonprofit organization; or
  • the applicant has contracted with an organization that holds taxexempt status under section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

Therefore, it would only be permissible for you to use your OPCP at an event where tickets will be sold, if the entity selling the tickets qualifies under one of the three conditions defined above.

By in Latest News Comments Off on Taverns Education: Can An Underage Employee Handle Unopened Wine?

Taverns Education: Can An Underage Employee Handle Unopened Wine?

So, you have an employee working in your establishment who hasn’t yet turned 18 years of age. Can they handle an unopened bottle of wine when working? Is there any type of unopened adult beverage they can handle?

According to a July 2022 Advisory Opinion from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the simple answer is no.

Generally, only persons over the age of sixteen may be employed by restaurant licensees to work in licensed establishments. 47 P.S. § 4-493(13). To be employed as a bartender or to otherwise serve or dispense alcohol in a licensed retail establishment, a person must be at least eighteen years of age.

Sixteen and seventeen-year-olds may be employed on retail licensed premises to serve food, clear tables, and perform other similar duties. The PLCB has interpreted this to mean that sixteen or seventeen-year-old employees may clear glasses or pitchers from tables, including those that have alcoholic beverages left in them.

However, sixteen or seventeen-year-olds may not participate in any part of a transaction involving alcohol, as this would constitute the service of alcohol. Thus, the PLCB’s Chief Counsel Office has opined that it would be unlawful for a sixteen or seventeen-year-old to “ring up” a sale of alcohol even if the employee does not actually touch the alcoholic beverages.

Neither the Liquor Code nor the PLCB’s Regulations permit a sixteen or seventeen-year-old employee of a restaurant licensee to handle alcoholic beverages unless it is for the purpose of clearing a table. Therefore, the host or hostess must be at least eighteen years of age to retrieve a bottle of wine and give it to a server.

The PLCB noted that the Crimes Code prohibits any minor who is under the age of twenty-one from possessing or knowingly and intentionally transporting alcoholic beverages.

By in Latest News Comments Off on PaTaverns Statement: Guv signs Act 67 of 2022

PaTaverns Statement: Guv signs Act 67 of 2022

The following is a statement from Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. Today, Governor Wolf signed HB 1615 into law, making it Act 67, which is related to sound regulations. The PLBTA, based in Harrisburg, is the statewide political voice for small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants. 

 

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association thanks Governor Tom Wolf for signing HB 1615 into law earlier today. Now, Act 67 of 2022, the bill creates fairness for all liquor licensees by allowing all to have up to 75 decibels of sound on property lines during certain hours.

For the past three years, the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association has advocated for this change to balance the playing field for all liquor licensees, giving each the same rights that wineries already had. This has been a legislative priority set by our Board of Directors.

During the past two years as a results of COVID, the need for this change grew louder as Pennsylvanians put greater demand on outdoor activities including dining and entertainment.

In the past, any sound on the property line of a bar, tavern, licensed restaurant or club could result in a citation. This essentially caused establishments to hesitate before offering outdoor dining entertainment as part of its outdoor dining experience.

Since the law is effective immediately, now all liquor licensees in counties class 2A through class 8 are afforded the same reasonable amount of sound on their property lines. Licensees are permitted up to 75 decibels on their property line from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

This update to outdated liquor laws is fair. It certainly encourages the use of outdoor dining with a low level of sound such as acoustic music. And, we’re sure it will benefit patrons, musicians, and licensed establishments.

Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill of York County deserves recognition for making this happen. Her amendment last week to Rep. Jesse Topper’s bill made this possible. She championed this issue on behalf of family-owned bars, taverns, and licensed. Our Association thanks her for her work at the state Capitol.

 

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