Remember When Two Guys Illegally Sold Wisconsin Beer in Minnesota?
Wisconsin's famous Spotted Cow beer made news last week when several spotted cows invaded the brewery, but do you remember when two Minnesota men got in trouble for illegally selling Spotted Cow here?
Say you're a fan of a Wisconsin beer that's not available in Minnesota. Can you get in trouble if you bring it here to the Land of 10,000 Lakes?
Well, if you bring it here and try to SELL it at your bar, it turns out you can get in trouble. Big trouble. Like being-charged-with-a-felony trouble. Which is exactly what happened to this Minnesota bar owner and manager.
According to a KARE-11 story, both "Brandon Hlavka, 37, of St. Michael and David Lantos, 28, of Brooklyn Park, were charged on February 4th, 2016 in Hennepin County with a single felony of transporting alcohol into Minnesota for resale."
The two apparently really like the New Glarus Brewing Company's Spotted Cow beer, which isn't available here in Minnesota. The story says "The New Glarus Brewing Co. beer is not a licensed manufacturer in Minnesota and its beer cannot be sold in the state."
But, they apparently liked it so much, they went to Wisconsin and bought about 10 kegs of the brew, which they then sold on-tap at their bar in Maple Grove. And that's where things went south.
As the story explains, "The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division began an investigation after receiving a tip about the Maple Tavern and on April 13, two of its agents visited the bar, spotted the beer on tap and ordered it. They tested the beer and later, during a search warrant of the bar, recovered three Spotted Cow kegs on site."
(On a side note, I'd like to know the exact process involved when the agents "tested" the beer. "Gee, Phil-- this kinda tastes like Spotted Cow, but my 'tests' are inconclusive. What's say we order another one just to be sure!" Given my love-- and experience-- with many kinds of fermented malt beverages, being a certified beer tester-- I mean, agent-- for the MN Dept. Public Safety Alcohol and Gaming might be right up my alley...)
So now, both Hlavka and Lantos ended up in hot water for selling the cold brew here in the North Star State. So, more than three years later, just what happened to our two Spotted Cow fans? Well, this story says Hlavka was set to enter the Hennepin County diversion program, and should he complete it successfully, he would have those charges dismissed. However, that story is from 2016, and I couldn't find any updates to see if these charges, were, in fact, dismissed.