God bless ABC, for protecting us from this hardened criminal.
Back in May, former Scene staff-writer Elizabeth Ulrich wrote about Randy Piper, a Goodlettsville plumber and owner of what may be the world's largest collection of Jack Daniels merchandise ("Gettin' Jacked"). Piper's 2,400-plus bottles of Jack got him in hot water last year with the state's ABC, who stormed his small souvenir shop in Lynchburg and hauled away his stash.
But as Ulrich found, Piper wasn't selling the booze he was selling the bottle. The crux of the state's case against him was a German tourist, in town for the annual Jack Daniels picnic, who'd spent $350 on a bottle signed by a master distiller. Not exactly the kind of hooch you're gonna rush home and pound. But ABC, exhibiting the all-brawn no-brains style of the worst bureaucracies, failed to grasp that distinction.
Now comes word that Piper's legal troubles are over. A court order signed last month says he can't sell booze or get in trouble for a year. Of course, this comes after having posted a $25,000 bond, paying a couple grand in taxes and an undisclosed amount to his lawyer. And there's still that little matter of his Jack.
As Piper correctly predicted earlier this year, ABC is probably gonna end up forcing him to hand over some of his bottles. Which of course they'll sell, probably online, to the same kind of people who would have bought from Piper: collectors who were never gonna open the bottle in the first place.
So there you have it. A tax-funded state agency spent an entire year surveilling some poor bastard because he happened to like the way the sun glinted off an 80-year-old bottle of whiskey. Goddamit, who needs a drink?