One of the weird coronavirus restrictions in California is that when outdoor dining is allowed, breweries can only be open if they serve food and the customer must buy food with their alcoholic beverage order. If the brewery is only serving to-go orders, a food purchase is not required. Since the team at Lancaster, CA’s Bravery Brewing wanted to be home to watch the game (they don’t have TVs on site, and bars/restaurants weren’t allowed to have TV’s on during the game anyway due to yet another stupid LA County Department of Health rule), they announced they’d only be open during a four-hour span before the game, and only for to-go orders.
An enterprising LA County Department of Health inspector, Jatinda Chhabra, took the time on that Sunday (since when do gov’t employees decide to work on Sunday?) to show up at the brewery and order them to close because they didn’t have a food truck. The bartender told her that they didn’t need one because they were only serving to-go orders. Chhabra told the bartender that didn’t make a difference and he had to close immediately, even though he was in the middle of ringing up two customers. The bartender then called Bart Avery, the founder, to tell him what was happening. From The Federalist:
She was “brash,” Bart recalls the employee telling him, and “arrogant, and she could give a sh-t less about shutting us down.”
When the employee put Brian Avery, the brewer, on the line with Chhabra, he asked her to call her supervisor. In the 20 minutes Bart estimates it took her to “resolve” her misunderstanding, the brewery was not allowed to serve the customers who were waiting.
Nor was she satisfied when her supervisor informed her that she was mistaken, the brewery and customers were correct, and business could go on. She then told the sole employee on site he had to make copies of 11 different forms — all while customers waited. While the employee filled out the forms, she can be seen rifling through the racks, exploring the bar tools, and even dancing on camera.
More than a quarter of the time they were supposed to be open that day, they were closed – wrecking the day’s business.
Ah, yes, destroying small businesses and putting people out of work is joyful.
An LA County health inspector dances moments after ordering @BraveryBrewing to close. She ended up being wrong. Ruined BB’s Super Bowl business. If your restaurant has been bullied/intimidated by LA County Health, DM me. @KFIAM640 @johnandkenshow @GaryandShannon @CalRestaurants pic.twitter.com/QQXJ2POG70
— stevengregory (@stevengregory) February 15, 2021
Bravery Brewing isn’t the only place Chhabra visited that day. Christopher Bedford at The Federalist did a great job of detailing Chhabra’s terrible, targeted, incompetent behavior, so I won’t rehash it here.
Now, this is a small business that spent $100,000 last year to install a kitchen in the brewery in order to have permission to serve outdoors. While on-site food trucks are now an acceptable solution to comply with the “food has to be sold with the alcohol” rule, earlier in the pandemic breweries were required to have restaurant permits to open at all (as I covered back in July). That meant that breweries, the vast majority of which weren’t permitted as restaurants and already had various food trucks on site as part of their normal business, had to either stay closed or invest large sums of money into infrastructure – during a pandemic.
Then, right after Avery installed a kitchen, LA County closed down all outdoor dining again.
Brian Avery, owner of Bravery Brewing in Lancaster spent over $100,000 to comply with LA County by installing a kitchen in his brewery in order to be allowed to serve outdoors. All for nothing as restaurants/breweries can only serve take-out, no outdoor/indoor dining for 3 weeks pic.twitter.com/4QIip6FGu8
— Jorge Ventura Media (@VenturaReport) November 27, 2020
Avery was forced to lay off his staff right before Christmas.
I spoke with Brian Avery, owner of Bravery Brewing in Lancaster who spent over $100,000 to comply with LA County outdoor dining regulations. Avery tells me that instead of getting ready to give his employees Christmas bonus checks for their hard work he is laying them off pic.twitter.com/PqtH6SUQiU
— Jorge Ventura Media (@VenturaReport) December 11, 2020
This targeted harassment against small businesses by power-hungry bureaucrats has got to stop. Please, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, rein your people in.