FOLSOM, CA - The owners of a new restaurant called the Folsom Tap House have been forced to pour nothing stronger than soda because of a fatal crash that happened months before they opened their doors.
"It's really difficult to run a tap house without any taps," said Gail Back, who opened the restaurant with her husband, Jeff, at the beginning of April.
The Backs paid $20,000 to buy the liquor license and settle a tax lien from the bankrupt owner of a failed sports bar that occupied the space until last year.
The couple said a representative of the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control assured them in February the transfer would go smoothly.
"ABC said about seven to 10 business days we'll get that license issued and you should have no problem," Jeff Back said.
The Backs later learned the transfer was being held up because of a fatal car crash last year involving a minor who had allegedly been served by the previous licensee.
"We really feel it's unfair to us that our new business should have to suffer for violations that happened with a previous owner," Gail said.
The Backs chose to open anyway with limited hours and free fountain drinks so they wouldn't lose the 15 people they'd hired in recent weeks.
They posted a sign on the door explaining the Folsom Tap House was temporarily alcohol-free and watched potential patrons turn around and leave.
"It's hard to make it just selling food," Gail said. "We have no idea when we're going to get our license and we really have no idea if we're going to be to make this business work."
One day after an inquiry from News10, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control issued a statement saying it would clear the way for the Backs to get their liquor license.
ABC recently filed an administrative action against the license of the Folsom Sports Garage for furnishing alcohol to a minor, who later died in a car crash. However, ABC understands that the Folsom Sports Garage is no longer in business and a new business has applied for the license. ABC is taking the appropriate steps to ensure there is no unnecessary delay in transferring the license to the new business owner. ABC has also forwarded the matter to the district attorney's office for review of any criminal charges.
ABC spokesman John Carr said the license would likely be issued next week.