The owner of Turtle Swamp Brewing, 3377 Washington St. in Jamaica Plain, could learn tomorrow whether the Boston Fire Department thinks his fire-suppression systems are OK, which could lead to a temporary certificate of occupancy from ISD, which he'll need to get a permit from the Boston Licensing Board to serve up 16-oz. draft beers on both his patio and inside his brewery.
Two BPD licensing detectives cited John Lincecum on Sept. 22 for letting customers inside and for letting them buy $5 and $6 beers, in 16-oz. cups. Lincecum has a state "farmer brewery" license but that limits him to selling beer for off-site consumption and offering just two-ounce free samples - and only on his patio since he doesn't have a permanent certificate of occupancy to let the public inside the brewery.
Lincecum apologized for his ignorance of the intricacies of city licensing - Turtle Swamp is both his first business and his first brewery, he told the licensing board today.
Lincecum acknowledged this was the second time the detectives had found him in violation, and that they'd let him off with a warning the first time, back in July, but said he now realizes the difference between the state and city pouring licenses, as well as the importance of city fire codes, especially after the huge fire in a nearly completed residential building in Dorchester in June.
He added that he knew he wasn't supposed to let retail customers into the brewery, but took pity on them on what was a rainy night. "I did make a mistake letting people come in from the rain, and I shouldn't have," he said.
Lincecum said that if the fire inspection goes well and he gets a temporary certificate of occupancy from ISD, he hopes the licensing board could see its way clear to grant him a temporary pouring license in time for this weekend. The board meets Thursday to consider what action, if any, to take.
He added, "everyone's been very helpful at all levels of the city," getting him up to speed on all the required permits.
Turtle Swamp was not the only local establishment with a hearing today to explain why it had run afoul of the city's complex web of regulations.
Beta Burger, 1437 Tremont St. on Mission Hill, was ordered shut on Oct. 2 because it no longer had a valid food-serving license. In its case, the issue is the need for approval from the zoning board, which it hopes to win at a hearing on Tuesday.
The board had granted the restaurant a temporary license in October, 2015, which expired the following year, and the restaurant had never come back for a permanent license. The licensing board also considers its case at a meeting on Thursday.