Burlington woman charged with selling beer online - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Burlington woman charged with selling beer online

Posted: Updated:
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

"It's been rated the number one beer in the world," said Brian Maloney, the beer and wine manager at Healthy Living Market.

People are ready for a Heady at Healthy Living Market in South Burlington.

"It goes very, very quickly," Maloney said.

Heady Topper is a double IPA brewed by the Alchemist in Waterbury, Vt., and it's Healthy Living's top seller, with around 50 cases a day going out the door.

"There's a market for it and people will pay for it," Maloney said.

Yes they will. The beer is brewed in small batches and is only delivered within 25 miles of the Waterbury brewery. So it's hard to get and there's not a lot of it, which means there's a problem brewing.

"We're starting to see it more and more," said Bill Goggins, the director of education, licensing and enforcement for the Vt. Department of Liquor Control.

Liquor Control says too much demand and not enough supply is fueling illegal sales of Vermont craft beers like Heady Topper. Last month, state investigators got a tip from the Alchemist that someone was advertising cases of Heady Topper on Craigslist for $250 apiece. Places like Healthy Living sell it for around one-third of that at $75 a case.

"Part of it is people want what they can't get," Maloney said.

To make the deal seem legit, undercover investigators negotiated down the total Craigslist asking price for the five cases from $1,250 to $825. They say the seller is Stephanie Hoffman, 28, of Burlington.

"She gave him the beer, he gave her the money, and then she was promptly arrested," Goggins said.

Hoffman allegedly sold the beer without a liquor license, which is illegal and a misdemeanor. She could face a $1,000 fine and a year in jail or both for this crime.

"There's only two places in Vermont to get alcohol: in a private dwelling or a place licensed to sell alcohol," Goggins said. "The assumption is people know you can't sell a regulated product out of the trunk of your car on the street corner."

Whether she knew that isn't clear, but she does know a thing or two about law; she's a lawyer at Langrock Sperry and Wool, a prominent law firm.

As far as the craft beer craze, people are thirsty, even posting ads online searching for the 8 percent alcohol beer.

Bill Goggins: You'll see people from as far as California saying, hey, can someone buy this ship it to me. I'll pay for everything and give you $100 to do it.

Reporter Gina Bullard: And that's illegal?

Bill Goggins: That's illegal.

We hoped to talk to Hoffman for this story, but messages left at the law firm where she works were not returned. She is due in court later this month to face the misdemeanor charge. I did speak with the Alchemist and owners say it's a shame someone is getting arrested over beer. They say it's just not worth it and hope people realize this needs to stop.

If Hoffman is convicted, it's unclear how it may affect her ability to practice law. Lawyers have rules of professional conduct, but most disciplinary action is for very serious crimes like felonies, not misdemeanors like in this case.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Officer involved shooting in Bennington Police Dept.

    Officer involved shooting in Bennington Police Dept.

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:22 AM EDT2014-04-23 04:22:02 GMT
    Police say there has been an officer involved shooting inside the Bennington Police Department. It happened just before 9 Tuesday evening. Authorities are releasing very few details. But say the Bennington Police Chief has called in the Vermont State Police to investigate after an officer allegedly shot a man in the lobby of the police station. No word yet on what prompted the shooting. The injured man was taken to a hospital. Police would not comment on the severity of his injuries. Initial ...More >>
    Police say there has been an officer involved shooting inside the Bennington Police Department. It happened just before 9 Tuesday evening. Authorities are releasing very few details. But say the Bennington Police Chief has called in the Vermont State Police to investigate after an officer allegedly shot a man in the lobby of the police station. No word yet on what prompted the shooting. The injured man was taken to a hospital. Police would not comment on the severity of his injuries. Initial ...More >>
  • Champlain College housing plans put on hold

    Champlain College housing plans put on hold

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:22 AM EDT2014-04-23 04:22:42 GMT
    It's a fight that's pitting Champlain College against the Queen City. The school says it's not giving up on building more student housing, even after being denied land-use permits. Years ago, the college made a commitment to create housing for all students but that goal has hit a snag, with their recent construction plans on hold.The project would create more than 300 beds for Champlain students on St. Paul Street, but the Development Review Board denied the permits the college needed based o...More >>
    It's a fight that's pitting Champlain College against the Queen City. The school says it's not giving up on building more student housing, even after being denied land-use permits. Years ago, the college made a commitment to create housing for all students but that goal has hit a snag, with their recent construction plans on hold.The project would create more than 300 beds for Champlain students on St. Paul Street, but the Development Review Board denied the permits the college needed based o...More >>
  • Burlington school budget on it's way back to voters

    Burlington school budget on it's way back to voters

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:56 PM EDT2014-04-23 03:56:59 GMT
    A new Burlington school budget is on its way to voters that is more expensive and has more cuts than the last version.The board of finance approved a $67.6 million budget. On Town Meeting Day voters shot down a budget that was about a million dollars less than this new budget. After a recent audit that uncovered a $2.5 million dollar deficit, the board was forced to slash $2.5 million in programming and staff. School board chair Patrick Halladay acknowledges concerns about a larger budget wit...More >>
    A new Burlington school budget is on its way to voters that is more expensive and has more cuts than the last version.The board of finance approved a $67.6 million budget. On Town Meeting Day voters shot down a budget that was about a million dollars less than this new budget. After a recent audit that uncovered a $2.5 million dollar deficit, the board was forced to slash $2.5 million in programming and staff. School board chair Patrick Halladay acknowledges concerns about a larger budget wit...More >>
  • Amphibians on the move

    Amphibians on the move

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:23 AM EDT2014-04-23 04:23:09 GMT
    People across the state are helping out their amphibian friends on the move. Biologists say this annual salamander crawl happens on the first warm rainy nights of spring like Tuesday night. Over half a dozen of different critters from frogs to spotted salamanders travel to breeding grounds. But often, experts say, that means crossing busy roads which can be deadly for a large number of amphibians. But groups on Pond Road in Shelburne, are giving a helping hand to get the salamanders safely ac...More >>
    People across the state are helping out their amphibian friends on the move. Biologists say this annual salamander crawl happens on the first warm rainy nights of spring like Tuesday night. Over half a dozen of different critters from frogs to spotted salamanders travel to breeding grounds. But often, experts say, that means crossing busy roads which can be deadly for a large number of amphibians. But groups on Pond Road in Shelburne, are giving a helping hand to get the salamanders safely ac...More >>
  • Vermont man accused of identity theft

    Vermont man accused of identity theft

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:23 AM EDT2014-04-23 04:23:34 GMT
    A Vermont man is accused of using stolen identities in a scheme to defraud banks now faces federal charges. Prosecutors say 35-year-old Brian Wyer used identities of Ohio and Kansas residents to obtain two Vermont non-driver ID cards. He then allegedly used the fraudulent IDs to open bank accounts in Massachusetts withdrawing about $75,000. Wyer was indicted in Vermont in June and taken into custody by U.S. marshals in Illinois last month. During his arraignment Monday in Burlington the judge...More >>
    A Vermont man is accused of using stolen identities in a scheme to defraud banks now faces federal charges. Prosecutors say 35-year-old Brian Wyer used identities of Ohio and Kansas residents to obtain two Vermont non-driver ID cards. He then allegedly used the fraudulent IDs to open bank accounts in Massachusetts withdrawing about $75,000. Wyer was indicted in Vermont in June and taken into custody by U.S. marshals in Illinois last month. During his arraignment Monday in Burlington the judge...More >>
  • Rutland vandals target parking meters

    Rutland vandals target parking meters

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:23 AM EDT2014-04-23 04:23:55 GMT
    Police say vandals in Rutland targeted several parking meters in a quest for quick cash. 11 meter locks and 12 meter cans filled with change were damaged along Merchants Row, Center Street, Court Street, Cottage Street and Justice Square parking lot. One meter pole and its vault was also destroyed. Police put damage in excess of thousand bucks. Anyone with information is asked to call Rutland City police.More >>
    Police say vandals in Rutland targeted several parking meters in a quest for quick cash. 11 meter locks and 12 meter cans filled with change were damaged along Merchants Row, Center Street, Court Street, Cottage Street and Justice Square parking lot. One meter pole and its vault was also destroyed. Police put damage in excess of thousand bucks. Anyone with information is asked to call Rutland City police.More >>
  • Vt. principal who faced criminal charges wants clearer mandatory reporting law

    Vt. principal who faced criminal charges wants clearer mandatory reporting law

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 6:53 PM EDT2014-04-22 22:53:40 GMT
    A law designed to protect kids landed a Vermont school principal in hot water. Now, Danville High School Principal Noah Noyes wants lawmakers to put the state's mandatory reporting rules under the microscope.More >>
    A law designed to protect kids landed a Vermont school principal in hot water. Now, Danville High School Principal Noah Noyes wants lawmakers to put the state's mandatory reporting rules under the microscope.More >>
  • Embezzlement case prompts changes from Vt. officials

    Embezzlement case prompts changes from Vt. officials

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 7:39 PM EDT2014-04-22 23:39:01 GMT
    The case of a Vermont worker charged with embezzling taxpayer money is prompting changes in the state's system.More >>
    The case of a Vermont worker charged with embezzling taxpayer money is prompting changes in the state's system.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.