Barbershop offering a beverage on tap gets visit from health department

Posted at 9:35 PM, Aug 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-14 23:35:51-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Since opening their doors near downtown Salt Lake City four years ago, Jed's Barbershop says business has been good.

Business has been so good they decided to open a new location in Sugar House three months ago, but the shop’s owner said the location has one key addition--which brought county officials to his doorstep

“We wanted that old-fashioned feeling of sitting down at a soda bar with your kid, getting a draft root beer or some kind of soda and then going back--dad gets a shave, kid gets a haircut,” Jed Beal said.

In addition to haircuts, Jed’s Barbershop has been serving complimentary root beer in the bottle to customers at their downtown location for the past 4 years. But when they opened a second location in Sugar House three months ago, they changed it up a bit for the sheer fun of it.

“What we really wanted to do was to move to a tap; we thought it would be a better feel,” Beal said.

Beal installed the root beer tap, but he didn't expect his first customer to be the Health Department, telling him he had to shut the tap down.

“When we asked, ‘Why?' The answer was simply, ‘You just can’t,’” Beal told FOX 13 News.

Beal told health officials his other location handed out root beer from a bottle, and that was fine, so he wonders what he needs to do to make the tap work.

“Do I need a food-handler's permit?” He said. “Do I need a door that separates the waiting area from the salon? Do I need to have every person that's working in the back have gloves on? What do I need to do? Just tell me.”

Beal said he never got his answer, but he said he was told to disconnect the keg or else.

“Technically, I could probably get fined and closed down,” he said.

And that’s a blow to the customers, Beal said.

“They love it,” he said. The community loves it. I don’t know why the city doesn’t.”

FOX 13 News reached out to county health officials Friday afternoon, who said there are risks of food borne illness when you're serving beverages to public.

But they said not all beverages carry that inherit risk. They said they will follow up with the shop next week to try to provide more clarity to the owner.