The owner of an Eau Claire tavern is accused of purchasing liquor and fermented malt beverages from unauthorized sources and selling them at his establishment.
Jeffrey L. Root, 66, 3204 Haas St., is charged in Eau Claire County Court with misdemeanor counts of retailer purchasing beer from unlicensed wholesaler and retailer buying unlicensed liquor.
Root also faces four misdemeanor counts of possessing refilled or diluted intoxicating liquor bottles.
Root is scheduled to make his initial court appearance on Feb. 13.
According to the criminal complaint:
State agents inspected Dana’s Grill & Sports Bar in the town of Union on Aug. 31, 2016, to inspect the premises.
Root admitted to buying liquor and fermented malt beverages from unauthorized sources such as Woodman’s and Gordy’s grocery stores.
Agents found 18 cases of beer and 95 bottles of liquor that were purchased by Root from unauthorized sources.
The purpose of the unauthorized purchases was to refill bottles.
The agents also discovered that Root had been selling food, liquor and fermented malt beverages without a valid Wisconsin seller’s permit since May 2016.
The agents received information in May 2017 that Root was still making purchases from unauthorized sources.
In June 2017, agents received an email from the Eau Claire City-County Health Department, which was forwarded from a former employee of Dana’s.
The former employee said Root was “watering down top shelf liquor” with cheaper liquor.
Also in June 2017, state agents and Eau Claire police went to Dana’s for another inspection.
Agents explained to Root why they were there and he did not deny the accusations.
Agents uncovered four plastic funnels of various sizes and colors suspected of being used to refill liquor bottles in the establishment.
A total of 24 refilled one-liter bottles were also discovered in a different location within the business, mostly on the rail behind the bar.
A total of ten 1.75-liter bottles of liquor were found. Some were opened and some were sealed. Root admitted he purchased those bottles from unauthorized sources because “it was cheaper.”