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05.2011

Massachusetts Beverage Business

archivedOnBeerReport

BARTENDER, I’D LIKE A TOWER OF BEER PLEASE

For most people, a pint of beer is a sufficient serving. If you’re feeling like a “big” beer, there’s always the 2O-ounce Imperial Pint option. But apparently, that’s just not big enough for some. Hence, the trend of the beer tower – a monstrously large serving of beer approximately 128 ounces in size. That’s about double to triple the size of a standard pitcher that typically holds between 48 and 6O ounces. And of course, a single serving of beer is considered to be between 12 and 16 ounces. The towers, which are also known as “beer taps”, commonly feature a spout allowing people to pour individual cups or glasses. Not surprisingly, bars serving these mega sized beers have caught the attention of the authorities. Boston licensing officials have suspended the use of portable beer taps and are requiring that businesses already licensed to serve alcohol request permission to use the beverage dispensers. The move comes after at least two bars, one in Allston and another in Brighton, were cited on St. Patrick’s Day by Boston Police for serving “beer towers” without prior city approval and for serving to patrons in ratios that exceeded the statewide two-drinks per person at a time limit. The city sent out notices to all Boston businesses licensed to serve alcohol informing that each must stop using beer towers immediately and request a hearing before the licensing board where use will be determined “on a case-by-case basis.” Any business granted permission to serve beer towers will not be required to pay fees for receiving that consent, Licensing Board Chair Nicole Murati Ferrer said. State officials were not aware of the existence of beer towers until they learned of the recent citations in Boston, said Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission spokesman Al Gordon. Roggie’s Brew and Grille in Brighton and Tavern in the Square in Allston were cited by city police on March 17. Police said area businesses were told by officers about one week before “that they should contact the Boston Licensing Board to request a hearing relative to these beer towers and due to the uncertainty about them, cease the sale of them until a hearing is held to determine if they fall within the law,” according to the reports. The board’s chair said those two businesses were “cited not for use, but for misuse,” of beer towers because they served in quantities exceeding state regulations. At one bar, police found one 148-ounce “beer tower” had been served to two guests and a pair of the 148-ounce portable beer dispensers had been served to a seven-person group. “Based on the amount of beer served to the table, even using a standard of 16 ounces, this would be a violation,” of the Massachusetts law that limits drink service to two per person at a time, police said., adding that ratio of beer-to-people would also exceed state limits for drink service. Looks like the trend is over before it really got started, which is probably a good thing.

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