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Bold City Brewery Reopens Friday After Fire Code Violation Shuts It Down

Lindsey Kilbride
Bold City Brewery's taproom is inside the brewery located on Riverside's Rosselle Street.

Jacksonville fire officials are reversing their decision after they shut down Riverside’s Bold City Brewery taproom Thursday during a routine inspection. The reopening comes with conditions.

The city said the nine-year-old brewer isn’t complying with code because it’s only allowed to make beer, not serve it.

At 2:45 p.m. Friday, staff were setting up chairs, tables  and a tent outside, preparing to open beer taps to the public.

Owner Susan Miller said, just hours before, she thought she’d be closed for up to six weeks, which would have caused a “significant impact” to her business and staff.

Credit Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News
Bold City owner Susan Miller said she thought she’d be closed for up to six weeks when the fire marshal shut down her business Thursday.

“We’re talking probably anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000 that we wouldn’t bring in,” Miller said.

The fire marshal’s report said because Bold City is approved as an “industrial facility,” it’s not allowed to serve glasses of beer, hold events or host yoga classes, as it does on Thursdays. It can only brew beer. But Miller said she’s been serving beer since day one and never failed previous inspections.

A city staff analysis of the fire marshal’s report called the violation a “potentially life-threatening issue.”

But on Friday, Fire Chief Kurtis Wilson said the business could reopen under what’s called “incidental occupancy,” allowing up to 40 people in the taproom while the violations are addressed.

“We know that’s probably a fraction of what they normally see through there, but again, it’s that middle of the road that we can support under the code,” Wilson said. “The one thing the fire marshal wants to do, being pro-business and following a mayor that’s pro-business, is find a way to keep them open.”

Credit Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News
Customers start trickling into Bold City's taproom Friday afternoon.

Miller said Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and Councilman Jim Love helped find the compromise.

“I feel great about what the city of Jacksonville has been able to do for us,” she said.

The brewery won’t be allowed to host yoga or give tours until the violations are fixed.

Miller has a month to get up to code by applying to change the building's use designation and getting a building layout drawn up, in addition to a fixing a few other violations the report labeled minor.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.