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By in Latest News Comments Off on Pennsylvania’s Official Summer Adult Cocktail of 2024 declared by PaTaverns, PaClubs

Pennsylvania’s Official Summer Adult Cocktail of 2024 declared by PaTaverns, PaClubs

Pennsylvania-based distillery turns official drink into fundraiser to benefit rare diseases

(Harrisburg, Pa. / May 2, 2024) Two leading statewide liquor industry associations are joining forces this year to declare Pennsylvania’s Official Summer Adult Cocktail of 2024, while one Pennsylvania-based distillery says they’ll use the official drink to raise funds to benefit those suffering from rare diseases.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association (PLBTA) along with the Pennsylvania Federation of Fraternal and Social Organizations (PFFSO), both based in Harrisburg, named the Watermelon Crush as Pennsylvania’s Official Summer Adult Cocktail of 2024. In the previous two years, the official drink was the Orange Crush and the Bloody Mary.

“We’ve named some tasty drinks that Pennsylvania adults have enjoyed since our state’s official summer cocktail program started,” said Chuck Moran, executive director of the PLBTA. “We hope citizens across the state will try a Watermelon Crush this summer while enjoying time with family and friends.”

Ted Mowatt, executive director of the PFFSO said, “We’re declaring a refreshing adult drink as the state’s official summer cocktail that I know Pennsylvanians will enjoy, especially as the summer temperatures climb.”

Both Mowatt and Moran urge bar and club patrons to ask their bartenders for a Watermelon Crush this summer, and are encouraging their Members to put this drink on their summer drink menus.

Raising Funds For Rare Diseases

Meanwhile, Holla Spirits, based in York County, has agreed to make a donation to Uplifting Athletes for every bottle of their watermelon lollipop-flavored vodka sold to a bar or club this summer to make the official drink, or ordered online directly from consumers.

Patrick Shorb, founder of Holla Spirits and a rare disease survivor, says for him this is an opportunity to work on an issue close to his heart. The Penn State grad says he’s thankful for past care he received and is delighted his company can help raise funds for Uplifting Athletes.

“Every year, as part of our mission, Holla Spirits works to find ways to assist those facing life-changing illnesses,” said Shorb. “A diagnosis of a rare disease is shocking and scary to the patient and the patient’s family. The more we can do to raise funds for research and patient assistance the better.”

Both Moran and Mowatt say that it’s great to see how the official summer adult cocktail can be turned into a fundraiser. They challenge other distilleries to do the same.

Rob Long, executive director of Uplifting Athletes, knows how life changing a rare disease can be. The former Syracuse punter with a high likelihood of playing in the NFL saw his life change after being diagnosed with anaplastic astrocytoma, a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer.

“There’s so much work to be done to fight rare diseases and help those who just had their world turned upside down,” said Long. “It’s certainly reassuring that there are many caring individuals and businesses that step up to the plate to play a role in fighting this battle.”

Uplifting Athletes is a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 that harnesses the power of sport to build a community that invests in the lives of the more than 30 million people impacted by rare diseases in America. Since its inception, Uplifting Athletes has raised more than $9 million by engaging athletes to positively impact the rare disease community through driving action, awareness, and funding research. To learn more about Uplifting Athletes, visit upliftingathletes.org.

 

Watermelon Crush Recipe
1.5 oz vodka (using Holla Watermelon Lollipop Vodka will result in a donation being made to Uplifting Athletes)
.5 oz Triple Sec
Equal parts watermelon juice and lemon lime soda

By in Latest News Comments Off on Does Your Insurance Cover Axe Throwing?

Does Your Insurance Cover Axe Throwing?

By Annie Stontz, Illinois Casualty Company

Axe throwing has become an increasingly popular activity, and many venues have begun catering to this interest. As most of these businesses combine the activity with serving food and alcohol, Illinois Casualty Company’s Underwriters have been receiving questions about whether there is coverage for this.

Most people could understand our concern over the risk that comes with combining alcohol consumption and axe throwing. As the activity has become more popular, we are seeing an increase in mobile axe throwing businesses that offer to bring the sport to a bar or restaurant.

If your bar/restaurant hires a mobile axe throwing business that can provide proof of insurance, will that be enough to protect your business?

There are a few things to consider before offering this activity at your bar/restaurant.

  • Is this a one-time event or will it be a regular recurring activity?
  • Will the activity take place on your premises or be contained and controlled by the axe throwing vendor?
  • If this is a recurring event and your bar/restaurant has facilities in place, what controls are there to prevent axe throwing at times other than when the vendor is present to supervise?
  • Does the vendor’s current GL coverage have limits equal to or exceeding that of your policy?

It is highly recommended that you have your attorney review the contract with the vendor. The agreement should clearly make the vendor liable for all injuries resulting from any axe throwing activity and contain “hold harmless” language for your business.

Even if all the boxes are checked, there can still be scenarios where a suit brings your business into the claim. The allegations for an “injury” can be based on negligence, intoxication, or both. The injured party can be a participant or a spectator.

How the claim or suit is presented determines which policy applies and whether you can tender the defense to the vendor. As with many situations like this, the more serious the “injury”, the more aggressively creative plaintiffs get, and the more difficult it is to remove your business from liability.

Understanding the issues will help you determine the extent of the risk you are willing to accept.

 

Editor’s Note: Illinois Casualty Company is the exclusive preferred vendor of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association for liability insurance products. Qualifying PLBTA Members can save up to 10% on their businessowners and liquor liability insurance. For more information about insuring your business with ICC, visit www.ilcasco.com/find-an-agent and talk to an ICC agent in your area.

By in Latest News Comments Off on ‘Don’t Let Temporary OPCP Regs Sunset’ Featured on Pennsylvania Tavern Talk

‘Don’t Let Temporary OPCP Regs Sunset’ Featured on Pennsylvania Tavern Talk

Pennsylvania Tavern Talk, a YouTube channel created by Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, released its next episode, featuring efforts to eliminate sunset provisions of Act 81 of 2021.

If the sunset rule is not eliminated, certain temporary licensee rights will terminate at the end of 2024. This episode specifically covers changes that were made to rules involving off-premise catering permits (OPCP).

You may recall that prior to Act 81 of 2021, those with OPCPs were limited in the number of off-premise events they could cater and were also limited in the number of hours per event they could provide. In addition, a fee was required to obtain an OPCP. Also, March 1 of each year served as an OPCP application deadline.

Act 81, which the PLBTA and other industry groups lobbied for, allowed an unlimited number of events, erased time limitations per event, and also eliminated the yearly fee and March 1 application deadline.

We should point out that Act 81 had several other parts including temporary extension of the licensed premises, which also expire on December 31, 2024.

As part of its 2023-’24 legislative agenda, the PLBTA Board of Directors would like to make these temporary rights permanent.

“It’s crazy to think that the state would revert back to outdated liquor code at the end of 2024,” says Moran, “But, that’s exactly what will happen if the sunset provisions aren’t addressed.”

In addition, Moran says a strong grassroots effort will be needed from the industry to make this happen.

The latest episode of Pennsylvania Tavern Talk covers Rep. Napoleon Nelson’s recent cosponsorship memo in which he recognizes that the industry continues to struggle as a result of past pandemic regulations. The cosponsorship memo indicates his interest to introduce legislation to eliminate the sunset provisions of Act 81 of 2021.

You can watch the episode (and share it) directly on YouTube by clicking here.

This episode is part of the “2023-24 Legislation” playlist series, covering bills and cospsonsorship memos that if successful will impact the industry.

You can watch all episodes of Pennsylvania Tavern Talk and subscribe to the channel by visiting www.youtube.com/@PennsylvaniaTavernTalkByChuck.

UPDATE … as of mid-May 2023, this is now HB 1160.

By in Latest News Comments Off on Getting To Know PaTaverns: Member-Only Benefits

Getting To Know PaTaverns: Member-Only Benefits

The next episode of Pennsylvania Tavern Talk has been released on YouTube. This episode is part of the “Getting To Know PaTaverns” playlist series and covers Member-only benefits.

In this episode, PLBTA Executive Director Chuck Moran introduces viewers to various benefits available to Members ranging from discounted liquor liability insurance to discounted online RAMP training.

“While the number one benefit of being a Member is lobbying at the state capitol,” Moran says, “there are other benefits that are often overlooked or underutilized that adds significant value to Membership.”

Moran encourages Members to take advantage of these benefits and support the Association’s preferred vendors. For example, he says the Association’s rebate program can put money back into the business, while others like Illinois Casualty Company can save qualifying Members significant money through discounts on liquor liability and business insurance.

“The savings from using benefits like the rebate program or insurance discounts often covers the cost of Membership and then some,” Moran says.

According to Moran, benefits change periodically, and an up-to-date list of preferred vendors can be found by clicking here.

Previous episodes of the “Getting To Know PaTaverns” playlist covered association governance and the role of Members.

In addition, Pennsylvania Tavern Talk has another playlist series that analyzes 2023-2024 legislation that would impact family-owned — small business — taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants.

Those interested can visit the Pennsylvania Tavern Talk channel by clicking here.

 

By in Latest News Comments Off on Getting To Know PaTaverns: The Role of Members

Getting To Know PaTaverns: The Role of Members

Pennsylvania Tavern Talk, a YouTube channel dedicated to the Keystone State’s family-owned taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants, released S1E4 as part of its playlist series titled Getting To Know PaTaverns.

In this episode, Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association (PLBTA), takes viewers through the role of Members. It can be viewed by clicking here.

“As a Member of our Association, those who join can define their role within membership that best fits their comfort level,” Moran says. “But for sure, being a Member comes with responsibility on behalf of the entire industry.”

Moran explains in this episode that some Members simply want to support the association through their annual dues in order for Pennsylvania’s small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants to have a lobbying presence at the state capitol.

Some take on a bigger role by becoming a grassroots activist and making calls and visits to their state senator and state representative in Harrisburg when directed by the PLBTA. Yet, others contribute to TavernPAC. Meanwhile, many wish to exercise their voice and vote as a Member by providing input and feedback to the association’s Board of Directors.

During the show, Moran says some go as far as volunteering to join the association’s Board of Directors when seats become available.

“Ultimately, each individual can define their role as a Member, and we hope that role will be an active participant in the political process on behalf of the industry … Organized Taverns,” Moran says.

The PLBTA is a statewide membership association responsible for organizing small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants for political purposes at the state capitol. While in existence since the 1940s, the association reorganized in 2019 and has since been responsible for several industry bills and changes to the liquor code that has impacted Pennsylvania’s bar trade.

Pennsylvania Tavern Talk is a YouTube channel that sheds light on political matters involving the industry at the state capitol and PLBTA news.

Those interested in subscribing to Pennsylvania Tavern Talk can do so by clicking here.

By in Latest News Comments Off on PaTavern Talk Covers Association Governance In New Series

PaTavern Talk Covers Association Governance In New Series

Pennsylvania Tavern Talk, a YouTube Channel dedicated to issues facing Pennsylvania bars, taverns, and licensed restaurants, has released Season 1, Episode 3 in which it covers association governance as part of its new series titled “Getting To Know PaTaverns.”

In the first of this series, host Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, covers how the association’s by-laws define how the organization will be run. He describes the PLBTA democracy, Member voice and vote, and its Board of Directors.

You can view this episode by clicking here.

Moran started Pennsylvania Tavern Talk in early 2023 to raise the profile of legislative and association happenings.

He says the next in the “Getting To Know PaTaverns” will cover the important role of Members in giving the industry a voice at the state capitol.

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 Formal letter to governor: PaTaverns at competitive disadvantage with other states

Formal letter to governor: PaTaverns at competitive disadvantage with other states

Chuck Moran, Executive Director

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association today delivered a formal letter to Governor Tom Wolf, indicating our state’s taverns and licensed restaurants are now at a competitive disadvantage as neighboring states ease industry COVID-19 restrictions.

Below is a copy of the letter.

 

March 10, 2021

The Honorable Thomas Wolf, Governor of Pennsylvania
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
508 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120

Dear Governor Wolf,

Today, I had a conversation with a tavern owner who owns two establishments. One is in Waverly, NY, while the other is in Sayre, PA. The owner explained that her two locations are about one mile apart (1.3 miles or a two-minute drive according to MapQuest). Essentially, they’re in the same town and have the same patrons. Her establishment in New York will soon be at 75% indoor occupancy, while her Pennsylvania location will be left behind at 25%.

I’m sure there are similar stories in Southwestern Pennsylvania now that West Virginia has indicated they will allow 100% indoor occupancy. In addition, Maryland, New Jersey and Ohio have recently eased their restrictions.

As our neighboring states relax different types of industry restrictions, it puts Pennsylvania’s small business taverns and licensed restaurants at a competitive disadvantage, particularly those near the state line.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association has appreciated your efforts to find $145 million to create grants that will help the industry we represent. But what we hear the most from our Members is how they really just want to earn their living.

To help these mom-and-pop businesses compete with establishments in nearby out-of-state communities, we urge you to please ease off some restrictions soon.

We ask you to move last call to a later time, allow bar top seating, remove food requirements, and increase occupancy limits, in licensees’ establishments where safety protocols are followed.

It’s been a long year for this industry as it found itself at the tip of the spear in the fight against COVID. Now, with the vaccine distribution progressing and COVID data improving, we are at a better place. With the one-year anniversary quickly approaching when you first ordered dine-in service closed, it would be nice to safely take a step or two towards normalcy by easing some industry restrictions.

Sincerely,
Chuck Moran
Executive Director

By in Latest News Comments Off on PLBTA President Speaks At Industry Rally

PLBTA President Speaks At Industry Rally

Tom Tyler, 2021-22 President of PLBTA and owner of McStew’s Irish Sports Pub

The following speech was given by PLBTA President Tom Tyler, owner of McStew’s Irish Sports Pub in Levittown, Pa.  His speech was given at an industry rally on the steps of the Pennsylvania State Capitol on November 18, 2020. The rally was held to support taverns and restaurants suffering from the state’s COVID-19 mitigation orders.

 

Good afternoon. It is great to see all of you have come out to have your voices heard! My name is Tom Tyler, president of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association and owner of McStew’s Irish Sports Pub in Levittown Bucks County. It’s an honor to speak on the steps of our Capitol today as our industry comes together as one single loud voice to fight for its survival.

Since day one of this crisis, taverns, restaurants, clubs, and brew pubs have been the tip of the spear in the fight against COVID-19. In March we were asked to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19, And we agreed to do our part. What started out as two weeks to slow the spread has turned into endless mitigation efforts destroying our industry. In the beginning we were asked to sacrifice, now we are being sacrificed!

We have played a key role in this fight. Again, we have done our part. But our industry continues to be targeted unlike any other. And not because the science says we should as the state’s own contact tracing numbers continue to show transmission of the virus in bars and restaurants is very low!

Over the last 8 months we’ve watched our businesses go into a downward spiral with little help from Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Yes, I’m grateful the state has waived my licensing fees for 2021. Yes, I’m grateful that taverns and licensed restaurants can sell mixed drinks to go. But…it’s not nearly enough to save small business taverns and licensed restaurants from going out of business.

There has been a lot of talk of a vaccine in the news recently. That is promising for the future. But until then, many more establishments will hang “for sale” signs out as they watch their businesses close under the financial pressures being caused by mitigation orders.

We have heard repeatedly the governor and our legislators acknowledge the sacrifice our industry has made. But their words won’t pay our bills and the time for words is over, it’s time for action!

The state legislature needs to provide an industry bailout and other meaningful measures to provide much needed funds and lifelines to help our struggling establishments pay their rent…. Pay their mortgages….. pay their utilites…..and most importantly, to keep and pay their employees! The state is still sitting on 1.3 billion dollars in Federal cares money. We want our share of those federal dollars. We deserve our share of those dollars!

On behalf of all small business taverns and licensed restaurants across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association calls upon our state legislature to act now! Don’t wait any longer! We are out of time! We need help now!

Let me finish by saying that the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association stands proudly, here today, with our industry partners including clubs, restaurants, and brew pubs. We’re all in this together!

Thank you!

By in Latest News Comments Off on PLBTA Tip: Mask Confusion

PLBTA Tip: Mask Confusion

Christine Nentwig of CGA Law Firm

The requirement that customers and employees wear facemasks in restaurants and retail food establishments was initially set forth in Pennsylvania’s May 2020 restaurant industry guidance, and is consistent with CDC guidance stating that wearing masks in public places will help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

While there is substantial support for masks as a tool for combating the spread of the COVID-19, such support is not universal. Many individuals and businesses are opposed to masks, citing individual rights, medical restrictions, and a variety of other reasons for their refusal to wear masks.

This resistance places business owners in a difficult position, as they struggle to balance their legal and licensing obligations with customer resistance, complaints, and boycotts.

These efforts are complicated by conflicting and often inaccurate information on social media, which has created significant confusion and given rise to many questions regarding how businesses should respond to mask complaints and refusals, including:

Q: Can I as a business owner require customers and employees to wear masks in my restaurant or food establishment?
A: Yes, all businesses in the retail food services industry are required to adhere to state guidance. Those who do not comply risk penalties, including suspension or revocation of licenses.

Q: What if a customer tells me that he/she cannot be forced to wear a mask because it violates his/her constitutional rights?
A: Requiring patrons and employees to wear a mask is a public safety measure that does not infringe on any individual’s constitutional rights and does not violate any of the civil rights and liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

Q: I have been told that I cannot ask any patron or employee who is not wearing a mask if they have a medical condition that prevents them from doing so because it will violate HIPAA.
A: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) applies to protected health information in the possession of a healthcare provider and other very limited circumstances. HIPAA does not apply to business owners in this context.

Q: Doesn’t the ADA prevent me from requiring customers or employees to wear a mask?
A: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to most businesses, and may be implicated in some instances. There is substantial confusion, however, about the extent to which the ADA allows customers and/or employees to simply refuse to wear masks.

Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in places of public accommodation, such as restaurants and other food service establishments. Title I prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the employment context.

In both cases, businesses must consider requests for reasonable accommodation, and are legally permitted to request medical information to support such requests. For customers, businesses may make a verbal inquiry regarding the reason the person cannot wear a mask – but generally should not require written medical documentation. For employees, employers may (and in most cases should) require written medical certification supporting the need for accommodation.

It is important to note, however, that while a business must consider a valid request, it is not required to grant the specific accommodation requested where a viable alternative exists.

Given the risks posed by noncompliance with mask mandates, businesses may wish to consider offering alternatives to customers who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, including offering delivery, curbside pickup, or face shields. For employees, an employer may offer accommodations such as face shields, remote work, or other workplace modifications that separate them from others.

While business owners anxiously await a return to relative normalcy and a day when mask requirements are a thing of the past, those facing “mask confusion” should be sure to separate fact from fiction and evaluate each request based on facts and the appropriate applicable law.

This article was written by Christine Nentwig of CGA Law Firm, a preferred vendor of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. CGA Law Firm has an experienced team of PLCB attorneys available to licensees throughout Pennsylvania to answer questions regarding the new requirements and license suspension process, discuss the steps necessary to ensure compliance, and provide representation and counsel in resolving PLCB suspensions and citations. To reach CGA Law Firm, call (717) 848-4900.

*Any opinion expressed in the article is not to be construed as legal advice to any individual or entity.

The above story appears in the December 2020 edition of our magazine, Pennsylvania Beverage Media.