Memo to California COVID Cops: When Crushing the Dreams of a Brewery Owner, Don't Do a 'Happy Dance'

(Twitter screenshot @StephenGregory)

Here’s a pro-tip when crushing the dreams of a California brewery owner because you shut them down on Super Bowl Sunday. Don’t dance like you’re enjoying it. Especially when you’re wrong.


That’s what happened to “Bravery Brewing” in Lancaster, Calif., last weekend when an LA County health inspector apparently thought she had a real gotcha moment when she caught the business doing businessy things on a Sunday.

After months of shutdowns, reopening, shutdowns, reopenings, outside is open, inside is closed, tents are good, only certain tent sides can be closed, wear masks, six feet apart diktats from LA County and California comrades who make laws for little people and then ignore them personally, the co-owner of Bravery, Bart Avery, thought he had the rules on lock. In fact, he knew the rules better than the health inspector who was enforcing the COVID diktats.

The Lancaster brewery was open for take-out orders, growlers, kegs, and whatever other merch they sell, for the big game on Sunday, February 7th.

It was going to be a beautiful weekend in the windy enclave of Lancaster, near Palmdale, in northeast LA County. “This weekend is off to a good start!” read a Bravery Brewing tweet.

But they spoke too soon.

Bravery, a name which honors war veterans, one of whom was the owner’s grandfather, was planning to do what it usually does on Super Bowl Sunday: close early.

The brewery, which sits in an industrial park, isn’t outfitted with TVs. It didn’t even serve food until LA County closed all the bars and issued diktats that only those selling food could stay open.


The brewery rolled with the new rules and rolled in the food trucks.

But on Sunday before the big game, the California brewery owner was simply planning to fill take-out orders. There would be no in-person swilling. Not even in one-sided tents outside in the southern California sunny and windy conditions.

And that’s when the inspector, Jatinder Chhabra, the bane of the existence of small businesses in that piece of heaven in LA County, decided she’d strike.

Avery told KFI Radio’s John and Ken Show that she swaggered in 30 minutes after opening with people in line and proceeded to harass his employee, who was working alone that day.

In she walks and shows the badge and says “I’m with the health department and I’m shutting you down.” And he questions it and she says “no, you have to have a food truck” and he says we’re just selling beer-to-go. And she says, “no, you need to have a food truck for beer-to-go, too.”

It just goes to show you how out of touch this poor woman was … she did not know what she was doing.


Avery said she was told to call her boss and came away from the conversation agreeing that his employee and his co-owner son were right.

The Federalist first reported that the misinformed COVID cop visited another booze business that day.

Bravery wasn’t Chhabra’s first stop that day, either. Before them, Chhabra dropped in on Thief & Barrel, a small tasting room that offers local wineries the chance to serve tastings of their wines to the public. They had just opened and no customers had come in yet, managing partner Barbara Moran told The Federalist.

“She kept trying to quote information from the protocols, of which we kept explaining that we were not required to serve food,” Moran recalls.

The protocols had changed, though, when wineries and tasting rooms received an explicit waiver from the county. “She was not rude, but was most definitely misinformed,” Moran says. “She kept reminding us that she’s only the messenger.”

If you’re going to be the bearer of bad news, shouldn’t a fundamental requirement at least be that the bad news be accurate?

Avery told KFI it’s been a cavalcade of incompetence from the health inspectors even before COVID.

Before COVID hit we had the same health inspector she told us that people were not allowed to bring food into the brewery, which is completely incorrect. We had to correct her on that.

We had another health inspector come up a few months ago that told us that not only did we have to sell a meal with each beer, but every time a customer would come up to get another beer they would have to buy another meal.  This is how crazy … these people haven’t a clue what they’re doing.

So on the third or fourth reopening we spent nearly $10,000 putting tents on our front parking area, which consequently got destroyed by the winds about three weeks ago, and then the county says, “oh, you can only put one side up on the tent.” OK, that’s another crazy rule. That doesn’t work. Try living in a house with only one side on it.


He told the hosts that a person at the health department told him to simply ignore the rules. … Sure, like that will work when COVID cossacks come to get you.

I need a drink. This one looks good.

Here’s another pro-tip: if your rules are so cock-eyed and confusing that even your bureaucrats don’t understand them, get rid of them and allow people to act in their own best interest. This includes not getting your customers sick and having tents with sides on them.

And don’t dance in seeming glee and handle the merchandise with your bare hands, as the inspector was also caught on tape doing.

People are fighting for their livelihoods here. The old saw about “if you can’t convince them, confuse them” doesn’t work anymore. Business owners are getting wise to the incompetence and bad decision-making that marks California’s COVID response.

The owner of the SlapFish Seafood national chain of restaurants, California-based Andrew Gruel, said he’d been hearing similar stories. “These stories about city officials bullying restaurants are getting all too common,” he said.


Bravery wasn’t closed for too long on the day of the big game after the California COVID cop found out she’d blown it, but customers had to wait while she cogitated over her confusion.

Later, Avery was told by a person who works in the health department to ignore the rules. But he’s trying to do the right thing as long as the right thing makes sense.

California business owners, who are sick of the unscience-y shutdowns and diktats that seem to change from whim to whim, are fighting back with logic and reason.

Avery, like Angela Marsden, the owner of the Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill in Sherman Oaks, Calif., is pointing out the hypocrisies of the ruling class and doing battle.

These businesses are going their own way.  Other California businesses should follow.


Victoria Taft is the host of “The Adult in the Room Podcast With Victoria Taft” where you can hear her series on “Antifa Versus Mike Strickland.” Find it  here.Follow her on Facebook,  TwitterParlerMeWeMinds @VictoriaTaft 


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