Many readers already know that since June 14, NABC has been in protest mode.
On that date, the Floyd County Health Department (an arm of county, not city government) cited NABC for failure to possess a temporary food serving permit. In fact, we were pouring beer only, and using the usual supplemental catering permit issued by the Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission. It is our contention that this ATC permit is sufficient, and the health department has no grounds for requiring an additional permit according to its vague and as yet unproven administrative stratagem of “all of a sudden, we guess that beer is food.”
But beer isn’t yet food, at least according to the existing law in Indiana, and this is the battle we’ve been fighting for the past two months. The law does not exist for the health department to manipulate on whim. Rather, it exists for and by all of us. It’s a principle worth going to the mattresses to uphold, and so that’s what we’re doing. The question will be decided in Indianapolis, and we like our odds.
In late July, just after our appeals hearing with the health department’s board had concluded with a mixed bag of bizarre compromise decisions, the ante was surprisingly upped when the health department chose to use its website portal to defame NABC by displaying a staged photo of its truck, our Bank Street Brewhouse, and accompanying text about the threat of E.coli.
We’ve since embarked upon a legal challenge to this unfortunate and reprehensible act of blatant retaliation. The health department subsequently complied with our cease and desist demand, if artlessly, and removed both the photo and a second posting aimed against me personally.
It has not yet apologized, and NBC’s tort claim notice remains on the table. This does not mean that NABC is suing the health department.
It means we’re informing county government and the county health department that we believe we have sufficient justification to sue, and might do just that. It is a subtle but significant difference. We certainly would rather be doing other things than suing the government, and moreover, we didn’t seek this fight in the first place. Rather, the health department first acted unilaterally (absolutely alone among Indiana’s 92 counties) in seeking a permitting precedent, and then when strongly challenged as to its legal standing, sought to intimidate NABC through its website photo posting. So, we’re not suing anyone.
I’ve written much on the topic at my NA Confidential blog, but below is a collection of articles written by other, impartial observers.
Questions? Just write me for answers: roger(at)newalbanian(dot)com.
CHEERS AND JEERS — For Aug. 17-18; JEERS … to the Floyd County Health Department (News and Tribune)
DOH Chronicles(Eater Louisville)
Floyd County Health Department Uses Bank Street Brewhouse to set ‘Foodborne Diseases’ Photo Shoot (Eater Louisville)
FCHD Apparently Unaware Human Pathogens Don’t Grow in Beer (502 Brews)
FCHD Expected to Make PourGate Decision by Next Week (502 Brews)
NABC vs. Floyd County Health Department Hearing is July 25 (502 Brews)
PourGate: NABC to Pour ‘Under Protest’ Tonight (502 Brews)
NABC vs. Floyd County Health Department (502 Brews)