The beer board handed down punishments. (Photo: MGNOnline)

On Thursday, the Chattanooga Beer and Wrecker Board handed down punishments to LongHorn Steakhouse, Mr. Zip and Save-A-Ton for failing compliance checks.

On May 25 and May 30, the Chattanooga Police Department assisted the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission with a series of compliance checks, CPD Officer John Collins said. The TABC sent an underage buyer to purchase alcohol at several area establishments.

LongHorn, located at 5571 Brainerd Road, received a three-day beer license suspension or the option to pay a $1,500 fine. The restaurant also received a $1,500 fine from the TABC. 

Collins said the underage buyer was served alcohol after his ID was checked.

The three-day suspension will begin July 13 if the $1,500 fine is not paid.

Mr. Zip, located at 1905 Gunbarrel Road, received a three-day beer license suspension or the option to pay a $1,000 fine.

The underage buyer was able to purchase a beer from the convenience store after his ID was checked, Collins said.

Mr. Zip participated in a TABC alcohol sales class after the violation, according to TABC Special Agent Travis Patton. This class helped the convenience store get a reduced fine.

The three-day suspension will begin July 13 if the $1,000 fine is not paid.

Save-A-Ton, located at 5701 Highway 153, received a seven-day beer license suspension.

The underage buyer was able to purchase a beer from the convenience store after his ID was checked, Collins said.

The convenience store had a previous violation for a sale to a minor in 2014. The board members considered that violation during their discussions of a punishment for the current violation.

Save-A-Ton is suspended from selling beer July 13-20.

At the June 15 beer board meeting, both Aldi and Amigo Mexican Restaurant failed to appear, resulting in a 14-day beer license suspension for each establishment.

At this Thursday’s meeting, their violations were up for reconsideration. 

An attorney for Aldi Inc. said that the store manager did not make the corporate office aware of the violation until after the beer board meeting had already occurred.

“I became involved about two days prior to the suspension beginning,” he said. “This is not proper protocol for how we handle this, which is why I am here today.”

Aldi has paid the TABC’s $1,500 fine for the violation.

The board voted 6-0 for Chattanooga City Attorney Keith Reisman to negotiate a three-day beer license suspension or $1,500 fine.

Aldi, located at 5706 Lee Highway, is free to sell alcohol until the matter is settled.

Amigo Mexican Restaurant manager Ruinado Garcia did not realize he missed the beer board meeting until customers began calling about the suspension.

“When I realized I missed the date, I suspended my sale of beer and liquor that Friday,” he said. “On Monday, I went and paid the [TABC] fine.”

Amigo attorney Lloyd Levitt said that as soon as the mistake was realized, Garcia and Levitt spoke with the CPD and Reisman to begin correcting the issue.

The board proposed two separate motions for Reisman to negotiate a license suspension or fine with Amigo, but both motions failed to pass. The reconsideration will now be heard in the Hamilton County Chancery Court. 

Amigo, located at 5786 Brainerd Road, is free to serve alcohol until the matter is settled.

Other news from the beer board
At the June 15 beer board meeting, Walmart, Food City, Mexi-Wing and Spare Time Chattanooga were given the option to serve a three-day beer license suspension or pay a fine. All establishments chose to pay the fine, and no license suspensions were served.

The Passage, located at 3116 Brainerd Road, applied for a consumer license. The building has not passed inspections, and the application was passed to the next beer board meeting.

Hutton & Smith Brewing Co., located at 3108 Riverside Drive, applied for a consumer and carryout license for its soon-to-open tasting room. The building has not passed inspections, and the application was passed to the next meeting.

Coachworks at the Club, located at 4817 Adams Road, applied for a consumer license. The building is currently zoned M2, which does not permit alcohol sales. The owners are currently applying for C2-small commercial-zoning to be allowed to have a beer license. The application was passed to the next beer board meeting.

The Chattanooga Beer and Wrecker Board, which meets biweekly, has the power to issue beer licenses and permits and to revoke or suspend beer licenses. 

Eric Wise is a contributing writer. He is currently attending UTC, where he is the assistant news editor for the school newspaper, The University Echo. He also serves as the alumni relations chairman for his fraternity.

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