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Legislator of the Month

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage & Tavern Association Legislator of the Month

June 2015: Senator Rich Alloway (R)
Majority Caucus Secretary
Vice Chair of the Senate Law and Justice Committee

Senator Rich Alloway has proven to be an important advocate to the industry since joining the Senate in 2008. He gained crucial experience about this industry from his previous position as Executive Director of your association. His knowledge of your businesses has been crucial in communicating to his colleagues how a proposal may look on paper versus how it plays out in the reality of daily business for Pennsylvania licensees. His intervention and aid on our behalf has been invaluable and rock solid.While Rich is well-versed in our issues, he has proven to be an excellent legislator for his constituents and a successful member of the PA Senate. He has quickly risen from freshman Senator to Majority Caucus Secretary, a respected leadership position. He also serves as the Vice Chair of Senate Law & Justice committee which oversees all alcohol/licensee related bills in the Senate. It is the privilege of the PA Licensed Beverage & Tavern Association to honor Senator Rich Alloway. One of our own that continues to make a difference for Commonwealth licensees.

Industry Happenings:
I have not remembered a time that so many changes have been made to the industry without legislation. First, the PLCB announced that your businesses are now able to deliver up to 2 six-packs to customers, but then continued with the shocking 12-pack for Distributors ruling. While the delivery for retail licensees will help those that have that business model, the 12-pack decision impacts your tier of the industry with a broader brush. I have repeatedly stated in the press, in session, and Senate hearings that if a change happens in one tier then an equal change must happen in all tiers with package reform. Having the smaller packages available for off-premise consumption was a part of your license value. I am advocating to restore that lost value. Increasing what you can sell out the door, saving business revenue on inventory, and making your day-today life easier with needed liquor code changes would help restore balance and license values in our 3-tiered system. All of our PA businesses are important and the state should not hinder any of our employers unilaterally!

Tavern Games:
Tavern Games has been a priority of mine. The amount of revenue these games produce successfully for licensees in other states and the Commonwealth is a win/win for business and the state budget. The first Tavern Games bill passed in 2013. It was a great way to get the door open to legalized gaming in your places. However, the logistics of it spread between 3 state agencies proved to be over-expensive and way too burdensome in paperwork and time. That’s why I introduced Senate Bill 667 this session and intend to see commonsense improvements made to the Tavern Games law this year!

My changes:

– Increase Licensee keep to 45%
– Add new games like “Night at the Races”
– End FBI Background Check requirement
– Lower annual fee to $500
– Takes Risk and Citations Away from Liquor License
– One Annual Report

These changes will lower fees dramatically; increase profits substantially, and gets rid of the threat on your license while providing many more options of games to entertain your patrons. Commonwealth licensees deserve the ability to play in the state’s gambling world the same as any other licensed establishment!

 Your Association:
The PA Licensed Beverage & Tavern Association is truly a great resource to its’ members and the legislature.

Your Harrisburg team is in direct contact with the legislature and tirelessly working to promote your businesses and contributions to the state. As members, you should be proud of the good work your group has been able to accomplish by securing wins for your business and by beating down bad legislation that negatively affects your businesses.

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Member of the Month

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage Association Member of the Month

June 2015: Joe Cicala
Busty’s Tavern: An Upper Darby Staple Since 1936

Business History
To say that Joe Cicala has always been in the industry is understatement. Joe’s grandfather, Sebustiano, an Italian immigrant originally opened Busty’s Tavern back in 1936 and since then, it has been a family-run establishment. After grow- ing up in Busty’s and doing everything from dishwasher to bar-back, Joe attended college at Widener University. After graduating with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management, Joe found himself working at various restaurants as a chef and finally in 1995, started working for his father again at Busty’s.

About the Business
Learning everything from his father, Jack, Joe took on the management position at the Tavern and for years has worked to improve the business. Having been expanded to the adjoining building years earlier, Busty’s has seen a number of improvements and renovations over the years. After Jacks passing in 2004, Joe took over the business and has been able to insure that Busty’s continues to be the “best little bar in Delco,” having increased the beer selection and events within the community.

Giving Back
After being welcomed into the community with open arms all those years ago, the Cicala’s have always been a family that gave back to their neighbors. Some of the favorite charities over the years include the Highland Park Fire Company, the Highland Park Kirklyn Athletic Association (HPKAA), and St. Lawrence Elementary School. HPKAA was a youth sports recreational league formed in 1960. Busty’s was the very first business sponsor of the organization and received an award in 2010 for 50 years of continuous support of the organization. Joe, in keeping with his father’s memory and his grandfather’s wisdom, continues to annually support St. Lawrence, HPKAA, Highland Park Fire Company and numerous other charities through the Jack Busty’s Charity Memorial Golf Event. Joe organized this annual event and since 2004 has raised over $138,000.00. Be sure to stop by this historical neighborhood establishment the next time you pass through Upper Darby!

Busty’s Tavern
8013 West Chester Pike Upper Darby, PA 19082
610-789-9836
Delaware County
1936-Present
Busty’s Tavern Facebook Page

 

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Mixologist of the Month

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage & Tavern Association Mixologist of the Month

May 2015: Jose “Joey” Diaz

Signature Cocktail
The Accident
Southern Comfort
Captain Morgan
Raspberry Schnapps
Melon Schnapps
Blue Curacao
Cranberry Juice & Sprite

Joey Diaz first got his start in the industry as a member of nightclub security. As time went by, he was promoted to a bartender where his personality really shined. A customer favorite, Joey learned to keep up with the fast paced atmosphere of The Village Nightclub while also being able to entertain and serve his custom- ers to the best of his ability.

He believes that in order to be good at what you do, you need to have the temperament to deal with stress as well as to know your customers. You must be able to gauge what type of experience a customer will want by interacting with them. You also need to be on top of what’s trending, especially in a nightclub environment. Joey regularly experiments with different cocktail recipes and products; check out his signature concoction, The Accident. As the area’s largest nightclub, The Village is proud to host the best DJ dance parties and the best in live music. Please visit The Village’s website to view their upcoming events where you’ll be able to visit Joey and the rest of The Village staff!

The Village Nightclub
205 N. Christian Street

Lancaster, PA 17602
www.villagenightclub.com

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Member of the Month

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage & Tavern Association Member of the Month

May 2015: Michael Feinman
Trenton Road Take Out: The “King of Craft Beer”

Industry History
Michael Feinman grew up in Levittown, Pennsylvania and went on to obtain a civil engineering degree at Penn State University. Returning home, however, he went right to work in the family business, the Trenton Road Tavern. Michael’s father Leo started the business in 1970 and as their take out business expanded over the years, the bar got smaller. Finally in 1986, the Feinman family stopped serving hard liquor and changed the name to Trenton Road Take Out.

About the Business
Now a full service 6-pack and 12-pack establishment with one of the largest selections in the area, Trenton Road Take Out (TRT) carries a full line of over 950 Foreign, Craft and Domestic Beers, as well as serves breakfast and luncheon sandwiches. Along with the help of his daughter Nicole, Michael has been extremely successful in taking advantage of social media to help further his business. By using Twitter and Facebook, TRT has been able to keep in touch with the needs of its customers while both announcing new arrivals and taking requests for certain products. Named by a customer on Facebook, TRT offers their Sir-Mix-A-Six deal where customers can mix a six of beer with no upcharge that they might experience at other places. Looking for something to do this spring and summer? Trenton Road Take Out hosts a number of “Food Truck Saturdays” where they bring in different types of food trucks and offer beer samplings to customers.

Giving Back
As a former President of the Bucks County Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, Michael likes to give back to the community that has embraced his family and TRT for so many years. A majority of the funds raised for charities and events are collected from Trenton Road Take Out’s customers, for which Michael will then match. Some of his favorite charities include the Christopher Mensch Foundation, “A Fundraiser for Joey,” the Movember Foundation, Healing Consciousness, the Family Service Association of Bucks County and many more. For more information on Trenton Road Take Out, please visit www.trentonroadtakeout.com or like their page on Facebook!

Trenton Road Takeout
1024 Trenton Road

Levittown, PA 19054
215-736-1389
Bucks County
1986-Present
www.trentonroadtakeout.com

By in Latest News Comments Off on NEWS – Tavern Games A Gamble?

NEWS – Tavern Games A Gamble?

A story from:
Penn Live

With only 38 of the 6,000 taverns operating in Pennsylvania now holding licenses to offer small games of chance, this gambling expansion in Pennsylvania that was legalized in 2013 clearly hasn’t proven as popular or as lucrative as state officials had hoped.

And Ronda Zeigler, co-owner of the first tavern to obtain one of those licenses, says the state only has itself to blame.

Zeigler, who with her husband owns Midway Tavern and Franklin House Tavern, both in Hanover, explained in painstaking detail to the House Gaming Oversight Committee on Thursday what she has had to go through to obtain and keep her license.
To fill out the two pounds of paperwork required to apply for a license for each of her establishments took 13 hours, she said. From the time the application was submitted until she received a license for Midway, 35 days passed; for Franklin House, 77 days due to missing information.

To keep the financial reporting requirements up to date initially consumed a half day each week for each of their taverns but now she has it down to 15 to 20 minutes a day for each establishment. “Everyone who has interviewed me asks about how much money we are making,” Zeigler said.

“Let me tell you we are not getting rich off of this.”

In fact, she said she and her husband figure it will take two to three years to break even on their $11,000 investment. Hearing about the expense and trouble that Zeigler went through to obtain a tavern gaming license provoked an apology from committee Chairman John Payne, R-Hershey as well as a promise. “That’s ridiculous the length of time, the amount of stuff, the amount of paperwork, the amount of money,” Payne said. “One of my commitments is to try to make this process more business-friendly. We have safeguards that we have to do but I find government sometimes is just overbearing.”
Rep. Nick Kotik, D-Allegheny, told Zeigler, “I think you would be better off selling hamburgers for 99 cents. You’d probably make more profit.”
The hearing on tavern gaming followed one on Wednesday that dealt with how the small games of chance law is working and not working for private clubs.
Payne said the committee plans to have hearings on other aspects of gambling as it looks to see what laws need changed to keep Pennsylvania competitive with surrounding states while ensuring the necessary safeguards are in place.

Amy Christie, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, which represents 2,500 bars and taverns, offered the committee seven recommendations to improve the small games of chance law as it pertains to taverns.
They included simplifying the tavern gaming license application process, lowering the $2,000 application fee and $1,000 license renewal fee, and reducing the background check requirements since tavern owners’ background is already vetted to obtain a liquor license.
Also she recommended lowering the 65 percent tax rate on projected profits to 55 percent, adding more games, and untying a gaming violation from a tavern’s liquor license.

If all of those suggested changes were made, Christie said, “I would say more than half of my members would be willing and able to do it. Right now, it’s just … too expensive.”

Zeigler also recommended moving enforcement of tavern gaming to the Department of Revenue instead of the liquor control board, more education and training for tavern owners about what is expected of them, and reimbursing or giving credit to the 20 or so taverns that paid $1,500 more to obtain their license than taverns now are required to pay because the application fee had been reduced. “It’s time for the state to show good faith to us and tell us how and when we are getting a credit or refund,” Zeigler said.

A spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board said the board is aware of the issues taverns have raised about tavern gaming but points out the process is based on the law. “We can simplify the application itself and we’re working with the Gaming Control Board to do just that,” said liquor control board spokeswoman Stacy Kriedeman.

She said the board has worked to speed up the turnaround on applications for gaming licenses, lowered the fees associated with obtaining a license when the Legislature made that possible and provides information on tavern gaming to everyone who asks for a liquor license application. “However, beyond that, the law requires the involvement of multiple agencies, background checks, the fee structure and the tax structure,” she said. “We are limited in what we can do without legislative assistance but we are very much open to having a dialogue on the issue.”

*This post has been updated to add the comments from the spokeswoman for the liquor control board and to correct the location of the Franklin House Tavern.

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NEWS – Rules Set For Home Delivery

Pennsylvania residents will soon be able to have up to two 6-packs delivered to their door as the state set guidelines for home delivery.
The measure, first announced by the state Liquor Control Board in December, is the latest in a series that have expanded services without action by the Legislature. Last week, the PLCB allowed beer distributors to sell 12-packs.

Under the guidelines set by the agency that oversees alcohol distribution statewide, holders of retail and transporter-for-hire licenses could deliver up to 192 ounces, or two 6-packs, of malt and brewed beverages straight to customers’ doors. The cash transaction, however, would have to be made by the retailer. Delivery staff would not be able to accept payment.

Amy Christie, executive director of the PA Licensed Beverage & Tavern Association, said a number of her organization’s members have applied for the transporter-for-hire license prior to the end of last year without any word on how long it would take to be approved. It remains unclear how soon deliveries can begin, she said. “It’s a wonderful thing that they are allowing delivery but the ability to get approved hasn’t yet been shown,” she said.
A PLCB spokesperson could not be reached for comment late Wednesday afternoon.

The PLCB’s other guidelines include:

Deliveries must take place before 2 a.m.
No other products can be sold at the same time the delivery is made, such as food.
Deliveries cannot be made to anyone under 21 years old or to anyone who is visibly intoxicated.
The delivery person must be at least 21 years old.
The license holder’s address, license number and license ID number must appear in at least 2-inch-tall letters on the each side of the delivery vehicle. Magnetic signs are permitted.

One transporter-for-hire license can cover any individual or business with multiple retail licenses.

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Legislator of the Month

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage & Tavern Association Legislator of the Month

April 2015: Representative John Payne (R)
Chairman of House Gaming Committee

106th District

Since I was elected to the House of Representatives in 2002, I have served as a member of the House Liquor Control Committee. In this role, I have voted on behalf of bars, taverns, and restaurants on issues, such as “cork and carry” regulations, privatization of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, off-premise catering and license expansion.

This session, I was appointed Chairman of the House Gaming Oversight Committee. This commit- tee oversees slot machine gaming, bingo, small games of chance, amusement laws and table games in Pennsylvania, which can also have a direct impact on liquor and beer licenses. I have made it a priority to work directly with business owners and industry representatives to ensure their interests are taken into consideration.

At a recent hearing of The Gaming Committee, I was appalled to hear testimony from an Adams County tavern owner about the time, paperwork and cost involved in applying for a tavern gaming license. As we consider opportunities to improve the gaming industry in our Commonwealth, I am committed to making this process more business-friendly and leveling the playing field for all licensees. While we must have the necessary safeguards in place, it is important government does not burden business owners with overly complex and unfair requirements.
We are specifically looking at lowering the application fee, streamlining background check requirements and ensuring gaming violations are counted against an establishment’s gaming license instead of its liquor license. Your days are demanding enough without adding hours worth of paperwork and hoops to jump through.

I want to thank you for weighing in on issues with the tavern gaming law. I hope we can continue to work together closely to ensure Pennsylvania’s gaming industry improves and our bars, taverns, private clubs and restaurants all have the ability to grow and prosper.

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Mixologist of the Month

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage & Tavern Association Mixologist of the Month 

April 2015: Linda Scott

Signature Cocktail
The Sweet Tart
Place a shot glass into a rocks glass

Fill the shot glass with:
½ part Crown Royal
¼ part Ameretto
¼ part lime juice
Fill the remaining rocks glass with Red Bull

Linda Scott had never bartended before. That being said, friends, Debbie and Ken Koewacich, the owners of The Marigold, took a chance when they hired her to become the bar manager of the restaurant. After many years of friendship, they taught Linda everything she needed to know about the business. As a self- professed “people person,” Linda took to the job right away. She enjoys interacting with the customers and having fun while entertaining them. She even has a super soaker behind that bar that’s she’s not afraid to use…

Over the years, she’s learned that a great bartender will stay in control at all times. She goes on to say that you should “always have fun with the customers but to pay close attention to what’s going on around you. Never let your patrons run your bar!” Linda loves the people she has met at The Marigold but understands that in order to create an inviting environment, you have to practice responsible behaviors. If you ever find yourself in Sharon, be sure to stop by The Marigold to see Linda, her famous Sweet Tarts, but hopefully not her super soaker!

The Marigold
38 N Main Street
Sharon, PA 16146

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Member of the Month

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage & Tavern Association Member of the Month

April 2015: Michael Pullano
Reading’s World Famous Pike Cafe

History
The Pike Café in Reading, Pennsylvania originated in the 1940’s as a bakery and corner store, and then turned into a beer and shot bar years later. Growing up just down the street, Michael Pullano can still remember poking his head into the bar to let his father know that dinner was ready. Fast-forward to 1985 when after working construction in Philadelphia, Michael was convinced to go in as partners with a bartender-friend to buy a place of their own. At the ripe young age of twenty-four, the two friends bought The Pike Café on February 13th, 1985 and 30 years later, it has grown to become a favorite neighborhood bar and restaurant.

About the Business
One year after buying The Pike Café, Michael bought-out his partner and began to expand the business. The Pike started off by providing a few steam tables of food and wings and with such an overwhelming response by customers, Michael decided to look into expanding not only the kitchen but the bar as well. Soon enough, the Pike was a full-fledged bar and restaurant with daily lunch and dinner specials, as well as a variety of beer and spirits to offer. As time went on, Michael began buying up adjoining properties and expanding the Pike’s square footage. He also bought two buildings across the street that he tore down and converted into a safe, well-lit, off-street parking lot for customers. The Pike Café now features a 24-spigot tap system with an ever-changing draft selection and nightly chef features including Wing Night, Steak Night, Shrimp Night, Clam Night, and Rib specials. Customers can always find something to satisfy their hunger!

Giving Back
Known as one of the best locally-owned establishments in Berks County, winner of the Best Wings in Berks County, and the Best Sports Bar in the county, the Pike Café regularly gives back to the community that has embraced them for so long. The Gilmore/Henne fund gives back to the community by rehabilitating Reading-area playgrounds for the city’s youth. Another favorite charity includes the Officer Phil Program that teaches elementary school children safety. Other charities that the Pike supports include Albright College golf outings, Nurses Week, Cancer Research golf outings, plus many more. The Pike also supports a number of local recreational teams such as a dart team, shuffleboard team, volleyball team, and inner-city baseball and basketball teams, to name a few. If you need a place to go for a quick bite, a gourmet meal with clients, or to watch sports with friends, be sure to stop by the Famous Pike Café! For more information, please visit www.pikecafe.com.

Pike Cafe 
930 Pike Street
Reading, PA 19604
610-373-6616
Berks County
1985-Present
www.pikecafe.com