It’s been a really long time since the Tipton County Beer Board denied a permit.

“This is only the second time since I’ve been here,” longtime board member Tommy Hill said after the meeting in which Darrell Brown, owner of The Smoke House Bar & Grill was denied a permit for selling beer without first having a permit.


Beer board meetings are generally a formality. Permits are required by the state and about two weeks after business owners pay the $250 application fee, they are licensed to serve beer and/or alcohol at their establishments. 

Brown, who also owns SpitFire’s Bar & Grill in Brighton, didn’t wait. He admitted to selling beer for the first two weeks the Smoke House was open. 

The hearing in which he was supposed to be granted his license had been rescheduled several times, but he told the board he was aware that he did not have a license. 

Board members held a lengthy discussion, considering what penalties could be issued. 

“I’ve learned my lesson,” Brown told the board. “Is there any way I could pay a fine and get the permit? It was a bad judgment on my part.”

Brown could not be fined by the beer board because they do not have the authority to fine someone who does not have a permit.

There was discussion about whether or not they could suspend his other beer licenses. 

The sheriff weighed in and said Brown could not be charged with a crime because there was no evidence that could be presented to the district attorney’s office other than Brown admitting to it. 

“You can consider the fact that he sold beer and determine whether or not to grant the application,” said county attorney David Owen. 

“Am I wasting my time?” Brown asked the board. “Am I going to be denied every time?” 

Board members took Brown’s lead and discussed how they planned to vote at the meeting and how they may vote in the future. 

Applicants can apply as often as they want, but if they are denied three times they have to wait a calendar year before they can apply again.

“He admitted to doing wrong,” said L.K. Dyson. “I would vote yes in a month.”

Chairman Steve Bringle agreed, as long as Brown met the criteria. 

“I think temporarily denying it is as big a fine as we can levy,” said Hill. 

The board voted unanimously to deny the permit. Brown has applied again and is set for another hearing later this month.

“The battle will be overcome soon, as a matter of fact March 10th to be exact,” read a post on the Smoke House’s Facebook page following Friday’s meeting. Patrons were encouraged to continue to bring their own beer to the bar.

Adult entertainers at SpitFire’s

Brown’s other bar was the topic of the next agenda item. 

On Jan. 21, male dancers performed at SpitFire’s Bar & Grill, which was against the law. 

Tipton County’s Adult Entertainment Board, which has never met a single time, will ultimately discuss the matter, however beer board members did discuss it as well. 

The state laws about adult entertainers require proper zoning – Industrial 1 – which is not how SpitFire is zoned. 

Brown would have to have a permit for it and state laws also dictate whether or not beer and alcohol can be sold in these establishments during performances.

“It’s not going to happen again,” Brown said. “The previous owner did it two times a year, so I didn’t think it was an issue. They were clothed, though they were wearing G-strings.” 

Brown said he is not planning on getting a permit for adult entertainment board.

There is no date yet set for the meeting of the adult entertainment board. 

Echo Day
Author: Echo Day

Echo Day is an award-winning journalist, photographer and designer. She is currently The Leader's managing editor.