The next time you walk into a Hudson Valley bar, see if they're actually following the law. Chances are, they aren't.

There are so many laws on the books in New York State that it's practically impossible to run a bar legally. A friend of mine who works with the law once told me that the liquor authority can basically walk into any drinking establishment at any time and find at least three things they're doing that's against the law.

Well, one of those laws is something that should be very easy for bar owners to follow, yet somehow many of them don't. That's sad because it's something bar patrons would probably really appreciate.

According to the NYS Liquor Authority, all bars and drinking establishments should clearly label their tap handles so customers know exactly what beer is being poured for them. This means having the taps clearly labeled with not just the logo of the brewery, but their actual name. The law specifically says,

If you have an on-premises license, you must have a sign/card/plate identifying the name of the brewer of the beer being dispensed from each tap. The sign/card/plate must be annexed or affixed to the tap. A symbol or logo commonly used or associated with the brewer is not sufficient.

I can't count how many bars I've been to a bar in the Hudson Valley with a long line of blank tap handles. I always feel like I need to put a lot of trust in the bartender to pour me the actual beer I want. And on some occasions, I've actually questioned whether that IPA I was given was actually the one I ordered.

Now, it's very unlikely that the liquor authority will walk into a bar and shut them down for having generic tap handles, but the offense is something that will most likely be tacked on if other, more serious violations are found. And it's also something that, as a customer, could be an indicator as to how seriously the bar takes their license. If they're not following this simple rule, it may lead you to wonder what other violations may be happening behind the scenes.

So the next time you walk into a bar, take a glance at their tap handles and check whether or not your favorite watering hole is breaking the law or not.

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