Beer Hall Could Lose Liquor License Over Stein Disputes

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Ky. Board: Patrons, Employees Quarrel Over Theft Accusations
POSTED: 1:07 pm EDT August 24, 2011
UPDATED: 2:08 pm EDT August 24, 2011

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NEWPORT, Ky. -- The Hofbrauhaus could lose its license to serve beer
and other alcoholic beverages for up to 50 days after a state liquor
board determined it permitted a pattern of disorderly conduct.

The Kentucky Alcoholic Beverages Control Board found that the Newport
attraction permitted disorderly premises to exist during a nearly
two-year period from August 2008 to January 2010.

The tourist attraction's license to brew and sell beer and other
alcoholic beverages was suspended for 50 days, but Hofbrauhaus was
allowed to reduce that amount by half by paying a $1,250 fine. The
remaining 25 days will be waived if no further violations are reported
over the next two years.

The board found Hofbrauhaus employees had attacked at least 10
patrons, including four women, during that period and patrons had
attacked two employees.

One patron settled a lawsuit against the Hofbrauhaus out of court and
a jury found an employee liable for battery and false imprisonment in
another suit filed by a couple who recorded video of an attack by
bouncers at the beer hall.

The board said most of the disputes were related to searches for
stolen beer steins, which Hofbrauhaus buys for about $5 and sells for
$15.90 with meals.

Hofbrauhaus estimates that about 150 to 200 of these one-liter steins
are stolen each week, and signs are posted warning patrons that purses
and other items are subject to search.

"Patrons who failed to produce a sales receipt or who declined to
undergo a search were physically restrained," the board found. "The
latter policy resulted in a pattern of confrontation and physical
violence between Hofbrauhaus security employees and patrons."

The board strongly recommended that Hofbrauhaus employees undergo the
state's Serving Training in Alcohol Regulations program, and managers
have said they will check the backgrounds of their bouncers and
doormen and provide better instructions to them.

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