Pennsylvania regulators cracking down on mug clubs?

iron hill brewery(Media, PA) – Pennsylvania’s celebration for passing Illinois as America’s fifth-ranked beer-drinking state may be short-lived.

Regulators recently cracked down on Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant’s Mug Club program and the move could have implications on similarly-run programs across the state. There appears to be at least two problems with how Iron Hill ran its program: 1) discounted and/or free beer for being a member and 2) receiving points on alcohol purchases.

More details from the email below…

To Mug Club Members and Iron Hill Customers:

Due to factors beyond our control, including decisions by state agencies that regulate the sale of alcohol, the Mug Club as we know it must end.

Whether we agree with these decisions or not, or why after 10 years the Mug Club has become an issue, is not up to us to decide. What is important is finding a solution quickly and doing what’s best for our most loyal customers. We want to comply with all the laws and regulations in the states we operate but our primary focus is providing guests handcrafted beer, creative food and attentive service.

We are currently revising the club to meet the regulator’s demands. During the transition from one club to another, the Mug Club will continue to function but with some important changes, including:

  • We will no longer accept new members during this transition.
  • Current members due for renewal will have their memberships extended until the new club is active.
  • Current members will receive 500 points immediately. This is our gift for past loyalty and patience during this transition.
  • Members will no longer receive points for the purchase of alcohol. This was a major issue for the state. Members will continue to receive points for all other purchases, excluding tax, tip and gift cards.
  • 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.

Many Mug Club benefits will remain the same during this transition, including:

  • Only members will be able to drink from the handmade Mug Club mugs.
  • Members will continue to earn a $25 credit for each 300 points accrued.
  • Members can redeem their credits to pay for any food and beverage purchases including alcohol.
  • The head brewer at your local Iron Hill location will continue his regular emails with members.
  • Each location will continue to host exclusive, members-only Mug Club events.
  • Members can track their points and review member profile online.

We are currently looking at a variety of options and we hope to have a new customer rewards program in place this fall. It will be hard to top the old club but trust that the new one will include rewards and member benefits worthy of the extreme loyalty of our current Mug Club members.


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3 thoughts on “Pennsylvania regulators cracking down on mug clubs?

  1. Pingback: More on Iron Hill’s Mug Club and the PLCB | BeerPulse

  2. How come a national chain like Ruby Tuesday’s can sell beer for $3.50 per 16 oz, and $4.50 per 22 oz. If you follow the PLCB logic, the 22 oz MUST be priced at $4.81. Pricing it at $4.50 means they are giving away beer as it is not a proportional cost for the large volume. Sounds like the PLCB is discriminating against Mug Clubs. If they are going to enforce a law, shouldn’t they be required to enforce it uniformly, not selectively? This just sucks!

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