As if the drama taking place at The Farmer's Cabinet couldn't get any more intense, Eater received an email today that throws a gallon of gasoline on the fire. Apparently, F-Cab owner Matt Swartz physically threatened Jordan Fetfatzes of Bella Vista Beer after the distributor had taken back kegs that were unpaid for from the restaurant. From the email:
"Later on that night, I was in our warehouse late and one of the owners, Matthew Schwartz stormed into our retail floor, and darted for our office, entered unannounced and unwelcome. He later stepped out into the retail floor near the bank of cashier stations. He yelled at me (fortunately no customers were nearby during the engagement, however the driver that returned the product, a cashier, our office assistant, and one of our sales reps were witnesses to the entire scene), I noticed him leave the office and wondered what he was doing in there as I had not been made aware that he was even in the building, let alone our office.
Matthew Schwartz had raised his voice and looked like a rabid dog, yelling pointing his finger, threatening to beat me up, saying he was this close to beat me up. Yelling at me, "How could you do this to us? You didn't even call!" I told him he had been warned and that we could no longer hold their hand to help them limp along in paying their bills."
When Eater called Fetfatzes for comment, he declined, but another unnamed employee that was at Bella Vista during the altercation confirmed the details, and said the whole situation was caught on video.
In addition to the unpaid kegs, it seems as though the in-house beers that were being brewed for sale at Farmer's Cabinet were also being shipped to Pennsylvania illegally. Mike Hiller was brewing for Cabinet Artisanal Brewhouse (house beers of Farmer's Cabinet) at the recently-sold Shenandoah Brewing Company located in Alexandria, VA. All of the franchise rights for Shenandoah Brewing were held by Bella Vista, who found out that CAB was using another wholesaler to move the new beers into the state. That would have been all well and good, but the brewing notice for CAB was still listed as Shenandoah Brewing Co., which meant that BV still owned the rights, and there was no other distributor listed who had since taken over.
"The reason for that is because they were renting their own trucks up here and bringing the kegs into Pennsylvania on their own," our tipster told us. "That's pretty illegal."
While these are pretty serious accusations, it appears that they are at least partly true, since the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the TTB just recently ordered a dumping of all of the beers that were made by Cabinet Artisanal.
Multiple calls to The Farmer's Cabinet were not returned, and Eater was told that the owners were not around throughout the day. We'll have more info as the story develops, so stay tuned.