Moccasin Bend Brewing Co. in St. Elmo takes steps to reopen

Moccasin Bend Brewing Co. in St. Elmo takes steps to reopen

February 5th, 2014 by Alex Harris in Local Regional News

Chris Hunt, master brewer at Moccasin Bend Brewery.

The owner and lead brewer of Moccasin Bend Brewing Co. said he is confident he will be able to reopen the brewery after he met with city officials this week to work out a plan to address safety concerns that prompted the abrupt closure of the business in St. Elmo last Friday.

"I think everyone wants the best outcome," Chris Hunt said.

Hunt and city officials met to develop plans to fix safety issues and discuss what sort of establishment the owners would like MBBC to be to determine what sort of permit is needed, said Jeff Cannon, chief operating officer for the city of Chattanooga.

Because of the brewery's occupancy requirements and a "heavily advertised event" that drew a large crowd and the attention of city officials, MBBC was shut down Friday following a surprise inspection by safety inspectors with the city fire marshal's office, Cannon said.

Hunt said that he hopes to have immediate issues addressed in time to appear before the next Beer and Wrecker Board meeting in February and be able to reopen in a few weeks.

According to the fire marshal's report, some of the immediate issues that must be addressed include updating the inspection report for the fire sprinkler system and fire extinguisher certifications, removing extension cords, repairing and replacing exit signs, covering exposed wiring and other minor electrical repairs, and ensuring proper storage of hazardous materials.

Also, because the building housing the brewery is a multiple occupancy building, the brewery has to meet higher fire code requirements if the owner wants to be licensed for a public assembly area.

Once the immediate issues are addressed, the brewery will be able to operate according to a "provisional plan" under a timeline to address the larger issues, Hunt said. The tasting room would be able to reopen at a "somewhat more limited capacity," of eight people, according to the city.

"It's a compromise we can live with until we get construction fully completed," Hunt said.

Contact staff writer Alex Harris at aharris@timesfreepress.com.