GRAND RAPIDS — A bar owner in the village is fighting a state citation for after-hours consumption.
Nick Scott, who owns Wild Side Brewing Company, was cited for after-hours consumption by the Ohio Investigative Unit on Friday night.
“It was 11:45 at night, we close at 11 — always have even before this,” Scott said, referring to the limited coronavirus bar serving, which stops at 10 p.m., with establishments closing at 11 p.m.
He said he and three other employees were cleaning, mopping and putting chairs up on the tables. One person was counting money and he was rolling silverware when there was a knock at the door.
Scott said he walked over and told the people outside that the bar was closed.
“They flashed badges and asked to come in,” he said.
He let the state agents in and they walked around Wild Side.
“They came over to where I was rolling silverware and asked whose beer this was. I said it’s mine,” Scott said.
The agents were apologetic, he said, but also told him they were not allowed to be discerning.
He was going to be cited for after-hours consumption.
“The next day the press release says a patron was drinking in bars after hours,” Scott said. “(This is) going to look like I’m no different than any speak-easy club.”
This is how the citation was worded in a media press release:
Wild Side Brewing Company LLC., known as Wild Side Brewing Company, Grand Rapids, received a citation for after hours consumption – Rule 80. Agents observed a patron consuming beer after midnight. They also saw a cold glass of beer on the bar.
Since then, Scott has been trying to get the language changed in the citation or get it dropped.
“This was me drinking a beer as I close the bar at night,” he said. “Now it’s the perception of the way they worded it. It’s an entirely different thing.”
Scott said he was initially told it would be a couple months before his case came up for review.
“They’re far behind on all this stuff and said I wouldn’t hear anything for eight weeks.”
However, Ohio Rep. Haraz Ghanbari, R-Perrysburg, has become involved, Scott said.
“Now I’m in the process of talking to these directors and getting them to fast track my report,” he said.
According to the OIU press release, the case will go before the Ohio Liquor Control Commission for potential penalties, including fines and/or the suspension or revocation of liquor permits.
The Ohio Investigative Unit is made up of fully-sworn, plainclothes peace officers responsible for enforcing Ohio’s alcohol, tobacco, and food stamp fraud laws. Agents conduct compliance checks to ensure the liquor permit premises are compliant with the Ohio Liquor Control Act. Agents also act on complaints of illegal activity on liquor permit premises. In addition to providing the safety checks associated with the COVID-19 directives, OIU agents continue to perform their normal compliance checks to ensure the liquor permit premises are complying with the Ohio Liquor Control Act.