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ALLEGHENY BEVERAGE COMPANY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/19/82)

decided: July 19, 1982.

ALLEGHENY BEVERAGE COMPANY, INC., APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD, APPELLEE. IN RE: ALLEGHENY BEVERAGE COMPANY. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD, APPELLANT



Appeals from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in cases of In Re: Allegheny Beverage Company, Inc., No. SA 1370 of 1980 and In Re: Allegheny Beverage Company, Inc., No. SA 1371 of 1980.

COUNSEL

Michael A. Della Vecchia, Evashavik, Capone, Evans & Della Vecchia, for appellant, Allegheny Beverage Company, Inc.

Gary F. DiVito, Counsel, with him J. Leonard Langan, Chief Counsel, for appellant, Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

Judges Blatt, Williams, Jr. and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 67 Pa. Commw. Page 488]

Involved here is the interpretation and application of Section 431(b) of the Liquor Code (Code),*fn1 which provides, inter alia, as follows:

[ 67 Pa. Commw. Page 489]

Each out of State manufacturer of malt or brewed beverages whose products are sold and delivered in this Commonwealth shall give distributing rights for such products in designated geographical areas to specific importing distributors, and such importing distributors shall not sell or deliver malt or brewed beverages manufactured by the out of State manufacturer to any person issued a license under the provisions of this act whose licensed premises are not located within the geographical area for which he has been given distributing rights by such manufacturer. . . .

The essential facts in this consolidated appeal are not in dispute. The licensee, Allegheny Beverage Company, Inc., (Allegheny Beverage) a secondary importing distributor, has sold and/or delivered malt or brewed beverages on numerous occasions to licensees located outside the geographical areas assigned to its primary importing distributor by the manufacturers of said beverages. As a consequence of these sales, it was cited on two separate occasions by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) for violating Section 431(b) of the Code, and, after a hearing held for each citation, it was fined $400 for the first violation and $500 for the second. An appeal of each fine was taken to the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County where Allegheny Beverage argued that it did not knowingly violate the Code, and it said that the PLCB had not provided it with an orientation session concerning its statutory or regulatory responsibilities in the operation of its licensed business. In the court's opinion regarding the first citation and fine, it was held that:*fn2

[ 67 Pa. Commw. Page 490]

It is clear that while Appellant committed a technical infraction of the sale requirements of the Liquor Code, no instructions by the Board as to sale rules and regulations was ever afforded to Appellant and Appellant was entitled to a warning rather than the imposition of a fine or any other penalty for its failure to follow the requirements of the Code and regulations prescribed by the Board.

The court then entered an order reversing the PLCB's imposition of the $400 fine for the first citation. In a second opinion addressing the second citation and fine the court found*fn3 that Allegheny Beverage had been adequately warned by the first citation, and held it in violation of Section 431(b) of the Code, dismissing its appeal. An order was entered, however, ...


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