City Beer Board Hands Out New Permits

Thursday, August 7, 2014 - by Gail Perry

The Chattanooga Beer Board handed out a number of new beer permits at the meeting Thursday morning. Of those issued, five were consumer licenses, three were for carry-out sales and two were for special events.

  Electric Cowboy, 5600 Brainerd Road, was recently cited and penalized for a violation of over-serving. Area Supervisor Jeff  Bostick was before the board again Thursday, this time to get a new beer license. A problem with the application of the original license was found when dealing with the violation.

The board members took the opportunity of quizzing Mr. Bostick about the policies the business employs to deter underage drinking and over-serving before re-issuing a consumer permit for the business that has been around for 10 years.

Mr. Bostick said since the violation that was caused by people passed out in their vehicle in the parking lot, there has been a 75 percent turnover of employees and everyone working there has been retrained in alcohol sales. The business has an average of 250-450 customers every weekend. It allows customers that are 18 and up, said Mr. Bostick. The corporation made that decision because it is considered to be a dance club.

There are practices in place to prevent alcohol sales to minors and letting patrons leave the premises if intoxicated. Security cameras provided by Eastgate Mall are in use in the parking a lot and a doorman is employed by the bar as well as security personnel on the sidewalk to monitor the situation outside of the building. If there is trouble beyond the walkway, employees have been instructed to call 911 and let the Chattanooga police officers deal with it.  Inside there is a security person in each zone and two that rove throughout the club.

 To identify age, each person is checked at the door and a mark is put on their hand that signifies age. Everyone’s ID is kept at the door until they leave, providing another check to their condition. If it is determined that a person leaving is inebriated and there is no designated driver, the bar will call a taxi and pay for the ride to get them safely home, explained Mr. Bostick.

 Electric Cowboy also holds an ABC license that is designated for a business that only has only10 percent of non-alcoholic sales. Assistant City Attorney Keith Reisman said this category of permit does not allow customers under 21 to be in the building after 6 p.m. unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. For these customers to come without supervision, food and other non-alcoholic sales must make up 50 percent of the business. The assistant manager said he would discuss this requirement with the corporation that may change the minimum age to enter.

Kanku’s #5, 702 Central Ave., applied for and received a permit for beer sales, also because of an ownership change. The business had a violation several weeks ago and the suspension has been served. Since then the business has agreed to be affiliated with the responsible vendor program said Mr. Reisman. This store has a scanner for driver’s licenses that determines the age of the customer.

 The Speedway #7 at 152 Hickory Valley Road has equipment that checks its own employees. If the same ID has been entered into the system five times per day the system shuts down, said the applicant. This prevents an employee from entering their own birth date. The license given to this business is for carry-out sales.

 Mud Run 2014 is the fifth annual fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity. It will take place Aug. 16 from 6 a.m.-2 p.m. at Greenway Farms. Pre-registration is encouraged for the event. The organizers have put multiple stages of accountability in place to prevent underage sales of beer, including different stations to ID and issue wrist bands, to sell drink tickets and another where beer will be located. There will be 10 Chattanooga police officers present for enforcement.

 The 2014 Southern Brewer Festival sponsored by Craftworks will take place on riverfront Parkway at Ross’s Landing on Aug. 22 from 5 p.m.-12 p.m. and on Aug. 23 from 3 p.m.-12 p.m. The Chattanooga Visitor and Convention Bureau encouraged the company to expand the special event to two days this year to encourage tourism and hotel sales. Wristbands will be issued to indicate those that are the legal age to be served alcohol and there will be different colors each day so they cannot be passed around. Over the 17 years this event has been held, over a million dollars has been donated to charities from the proceeds.

 This year there will be 61 brewery vendors, 12 food vendors and a few commercial vendors, said David Sharp who came to the meeting on behalf of Craftworks. Friends of the Festival has been hired as the event manager for the first time. One sponsor is a taxi company who will have parked vehicles that customers must pass as they exit the event that can be used to take people home if they are incapacitated

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