A Brewery Haunted By Its Past

Photo by Clevergrrl

Is Savannah’s Moon River Brewing Company Haunted?

Savannah, Georgia’s Moon River Brewing Company was founded in 1990 by Gene Beeco and John Pinkerton. Normally, this is the part of the story where I would go on to tell you about their great marketing scheme or innovative beers they brew. Moon River has both of these but in addition to that the building itself has quite a unique and rich history as well as… ghosts?

The original building was built as The City Hotel by Charleston, South Carolina native Eleazer Early. Along with being the first hotel in Savannah, it was also home to the first branch of the United States Post Office in Savannah, as well as, a branch of the Bank of the United States. The City Hotel was an upscale establishment, but prone to violence in defense of Southern honor. The hotel was also popular with many affluent Northerners, but the locals often did not welcome the Yankee clientage with Southern hospitality. Eventually, in 1864 the City Hotel closed its doors permanently,in part, due to its violent reputation.

One of the better known apparitions is “Toby,” who lurks in the bar’s billiard room where he has been known to push patrons and staff.

Fast forward almost a century and a half. After being converted into several different businesses in the 1990’s it became the thriving Moon Brewing Company. With innovative, delectable brews such as Captain’s Porter, Boucane English-style Brown Ale, Slow-vannah Session IPA and Southern Sour Blend #2 American Sour Ale as well as an outstanding full brewpub menu, Moon River had made the old City Hotel its home. The only problem was that remnants from the building’s violent past, it seemed to some, still remained. In a city widely regarded to be the most haunted city in America, this building is considered to be one of the most haunted of the haunted.

Since its opening, many of the staff and customers have encountered unexplained, and in some cases, violent, occurrences. Some of these incidents include bottles being thrown by unseen forces as well as people being touched, pushed and slapped by invisible spirits. One of the better known apparitions is “Toby,” who lurks in the bar’s billiard room where he has been known to push patrons and staff. A glowing white ghostly figure has reportedly been seen on the restaurant’s upper floors and is believed to be the spirit of a hotel worker who died there in the late 1800s. In the 1990s during an attempt to renovate the building’s third floor, the foreman’s wife was violently pushed down the staircase. Locals say he gave his resignation on the spot and to this day, the upper floors remain in decay. Moon River has also been featured on The Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures and SyFy’s Ghost Hunters.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, there are definitely some strange happenings afoot at Moon River. If you are in the Savannah area and are game for a ghost hunt, great food or outstanding beer, this is one brewpub worth a visit.