The Eagan City Council opted not to pursue additional penalties against Granite City Food & Brewery, which has failed four alcohol compliance checks within the last 36 months. But the council issued a stern admonition to the business during a Tuesday night hearing.
"I don’t take these things lightly. I have a huge issue with serving and selling alcohol to minors," Eagan City Councilor Cyndee Fields said during the council meeting on Tuesday. "If it happens again, I will go the full distance on this."
Granite City sold alcohol to minors during police compliance checks conducted on Dec. 21, 2009; July 5, 2010; and October 24, 2012. The restaurant was also fined $1,500 and given a seven-day license suspension in 2011 for selling alcohol before 10 a.m. on Sunday—an action prohibited by state laws.
After the restaurant's fourth infraction in 2012, the city suspended the restaurant's liquor license for 30 days, a penalty the restaurant is current serving.
But under Eagan's city code, the council also had the option of suspending their license for an additional 30 days or permanently revoking the license. Council members voted unanimously not to pursue either option after listening to testimony on Tuesday from Eagan Police Chief Jim McDonald and restaurant representatives.
McDonald described the restaurant as a "respectable organization" with no other infractions, crime- or policing-related problems.
Granite City representative Ann Reisner also told council members that all of the restaurant's employees responsible for alcohol sales were undergoing recertification as part of a more stringent training program. The restaurant, another Granite City representative said, expected to lose as much as $60,000 in revenue during the 30-day license suspension.
"We want to teach responsible alcohol sales and service, and we want to make sure people are safe," Reisner said. "The whole level of awareness has been heightened."
The restaurant isn't completely out of the woods yet. If Granite City fails another check within six months, it could face another suspension or possible license revocation.
"They are, in all other aspects, a respectable business, and they are a well-respected business; [they] don’t create a whole lot of problems or issues in our community," Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire said on Tuesday. "I have no doubt that a 30-day suspension is exceedingly costly to the business, especially when it has brewery in its name."