Excise police warn retirement home about social-hour alcohol

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Excise police are known for breaking up parties in college towns like Bloomington, but Meadowood Retirement Community residents were a bit surprised when they received word from the agency they could no longer be served beer and wine at their weekly social hour.

Meadowood stopped the practice last month after excise police told officials there it could no longer serve its residents alcohol without a state liquor license from the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission. Officials there then told administrators at Bell Trace Independent Living and Assisted Living, which stopped its practice of serving wine at social hours.

"They're disappointed," Larry Diersing, Meadowood's administrator, told The Herald-Times. "But this will all work out."

The only drinks served to the 50 or more regular attendees now are soft drinks, punch and floats. But residents can bring their own booze if they want.

"We don't have any idea how this was reported to the excise police," Diersing said. "There are rumors swirling around, but all I know is that someone told them we were serving alcohol to our residents, and they came here to investigate."

Excise police Cpl. Travis Thickstun said facilities that want to serve alcohol must obtain a license. If a license is obtained, everyone serving alcohol would need a server's permit.

"Our corporate legal counsel is looking into our options right now," Diersing said. "In the meantime, residents can still bring their own alcohol to the social hour."

Joy Harter, executive director of Bell Trace's independent and assisted living facility, said residents there are disappointed.

"But they're handling it well. The social hour is still social. We provide soft drinks and punch and root beer floats, and residents can bring their own alcohol," she said.

Social hours during which alcohol is served are common in many senior independent living and assisted living facilities, but Thickstun said the excise police division relies on tips or complaints from individuals.

"We investigate every tip to find out what's going on," he said. "Depending on the nature of the violation, we may simply tell the establishment to fix the problem. Sometimes, the situation warrants an arrest or the issuance of a ticket."

In the assisted living building at the Hearthstone Health Campus in Bloomington, the Stardust Cafe hosts a weekly happy hour in which beer and wine are offered to residents unless alcohol has been ruled off limits by their doctors. The facility does not have a liquor license.

"This is their home," said Tammy Walker, Hearthstone Health Campus spokeswoman.

She said she is not concerned about the excise police shutting down the happy hour alcohol.

"We also serve snacks and nonalcoholic drinks," she said.


  • Excise on to glory!
    Having underage drinking at IU completely under control, Excise Police moved on to the hardcore lawbreakers....cheers, guys!
  • Observations
    Has anyone else noticed the lack (none) of coverage of this story on local TV stations or the IndyStar?
  • demon rum
    The comment about "demon rum" was meant as irony, sarcasm, satire, as was the comment about mushroom poachers. I'm so sorry that it had to be spelled out for you. And you are the one who brought up the "sin" thing.
  • Waste
    If the State excise police have all this time on their hands, they should volunteer to assist the Indy police with our crime problems! What a total waste of manpower, $$$ and time!
  • Excise Police
    Why don't you hang out where crime happens everyday. Local wine and spirit stores. Leave the people who LIVE in the retirement HOME alone. This is thier home. What difference does it make if they bring the wine or spirits or the faclity controlls the spirts. I am betting some of the people in these homes fought in wars for our freedom. So much for freedom in a place you call home. Go work on real crimes.
  • Memories...
    Several years ago, my father was in a nursing home and, every Friday morning, they had a meeting of the "Men's Club..." Being far fewer men in nursing homes than women, of course. So, they had 2% beer. Big deal. I'd have paid for it myself to keep those men happy. This is truly one of the most absurd things I've ever read, the original complaint had to have been someone in the home to whom demon rum is a sin. Well, on behalf of seniors everywhere: screw that person!
    • Great Comments
      pretty much everyone is on the money here...applause to everyone but the excise folks and their overreach...
    • Astounded
      I am so astounded at our state sometime. These are their homes. My mom is a resident of a facility of this type and these types of social hours are a highlight of their week. Let them enjoy a quality of life with what time they have left. Just disgusts me.
      • seriously?
        Leave the Sr Citizen alone - isn't life tough enough when you get old and now some Bureaucrat wants them to pay licensing fees in order to have one hour a week where they can enjoy company and wine? wow. priorities, folks.....
      • Barber shop
        Please share the name and location of your "barber shop"! I am in need of a trim!!
      • Competition
        Sounds like a competitor just wanted to cause a problem. I would think as long as they are not "selling" the alcohol to the residents it is no different than if I serve wine to dinner guests. With all the violent crime happening I would think they should turn their attention to real criminals. Let these older residents enjoy what pleasures they can. Then again those boozed up residents may pose a danger to society.
      • Momma Mia
        We gotta stop this Senior crime. Perhaps long jail terms for these old boozers is in order. There are times these days (more rather than less) when this state makes me sick.
      • Uh Oh
        Better go after spas and salons...known for providing wine and beer to their clients. What a waste or resources.
      • Beer at the Barber
        I go to an upscale barber shop on the north side. They have voluptuous women barbers who keep your interest with their God-given assets and give away beer to customers. Is this now illegal? Will the cleavage police be routing the offenders next? Geez, give me a break!
        • safe and secure
          How nice to know that nursing home residents are safe from demon rum. And that citizens are safe from mushroom poachers. There is probably a morel in all this, somewhere.
        • who thinks this stuff up?
          I observed "social hour" when my mom was in a retirement home. Why do they think it is called "social hour"? So people can socialize! And isn't serving this thimbleful of wine enjoyed in company better than leaving them to sit in their room alone and drink (or overdrink) unmonitored amounts? By the way, the retirement home or assisted living place is their actual "home" - they won't be driving anywhere afterwards.
        • Pitiful
          ,,,,,and on a lighter note, 3 WWII veterans were ticketed for smoking cigarettes too close to the entrance of a VFW Club in Indianapolis.
        • Wasting taxpayer money
          Get these so called police out of our nursing homes and put them out in the streets fighting real crime.

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