Last month, some 10 unmolested years into the Mug Club's existence, the LCB informed Iron Hill that under the state's extensive, inscrutable liquor codes, "the offering of points for purchases is problematic when points are accumulated based on the purchase of beer/alcohol." The same arcane body of law apparently "prohibits the sale and/or serving of an increased volume of one (1) drink of liquor, wine or malt or brewed beverages without a corresponding and proportionate increase in the price for the drink."
Iron Hill's proposed fix is almost as sadly comic as this stern notice of violation, especially when one considers the public money being spent on this so-called law enforcement effort. Besides forgoing points for alcohol purchases, the chain says members "can continue to drink from the Mug Club mug, but must pay the same price as non-club members, an additional 50 cents over the current price of a pint. The free eight ounces of beer that Mug Club members received was another major issue for the state."
And now we can rest easy, secure in the knowledge that the state has averted the threat of free beer.
Given the relative popularity of discounted food and beer, it seems likely that the complaint behind this sanction was lodged by a competitor or someone else with a grudge against Iron Hill. And given that the state's casinos are allowed to serve completely free drinks to customers — as well as recent reports of ranking LCB officials allegedly caught accepting favors — the dominant impression is of a system not only serving no public good, but also benefiting and punishing private interests in the most arbitrary manner imaginable.