AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)- Augusta’s first brewery since prohibition is finally up and running, but after its first week of public tours, they’re being put on hold.
About two months after putting its beers on the market, River Watch Brewery opened its doors to the public for long-awaited tours last weekend. Visitors filled the brewery’s tap room to its maximum capacity, but on Wednesday, River Watch got bad news.
“We were told [that] the Department of Agriculture was told that the attorney general wanted us to temporarily suspend our public tours,” said the brewery’s co-owner Anne Sloan.
The Ag Department says it’s working with the state attorney general over concerns about insurance and liability at the brewery.
“That’s all we really know,” Sloan said. “We don’t know the exact issue. We don’t know what’s going on.”
River Watch brewery sits on the state-owned farmer’s market downtown across from the fair grounds. Mother-daughter co-owners Brey and Anne Sloan began leasing the property 14 months ago– but it wasn’t until after the tours began that the state said it wanted to update the lease agreement to account for any potential liability and insurance issues.
“This just appeared to pop up, so that was a bit of a shock,” Sloan said. “But we’re doing everything we can.”
Sloan says that although they want the issue to be fixed as soon as possible, they’re not sure what they can do about it on their end.
“We’re working with them as much as we can, but we don’t know the exact issue,” she said.
She also said said that the Department of Agriculture and attorney general’s office have been cooperative.
If you’ve signed up to take a tour of River Watch Brewery through the website, your ticket is still valid. The business has been instructed to halt any new tour bookings.
“Not having tours does hurt our bottom line, but we are working with them,” she said. “We’re not trying to you know, step on any toes here. We’re going through the proper channels as well. It’s frustrating for us, but hopefully it’ll be solved soon.”