The state is looking to attract outside beer brewers to help build on the progress Charleston has made in the beverage alcohol industry. From the press information:
Last week, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley just signed into law a sweeping change in the state’s approach to beer, lifting restrictions to help South Carolina attract outside beermakers, which have the potential to invest millions and hire hundreds.
Charleston, South Carolina is already at the forefront of this “spirited” economic development move. Charleston’s spirits and craft beer culture may have gotten its official start in 1994, when South Carolina’s “beer-ioneer,” Palmetto Brewery was the first microbrewery to open in Charleston since Prohibition. But major changes have been made since then…
In 2009, South Carolina passed legislation that lowered the annual licensing fee for distilleries from $50,000 to $2,500, in addition to lifting the ban on on-site tastings and sales. Last year, Governor Nikki Haley signed the South Carolina “Pint Bill” which allows brewers to serve up to 48 ounces (3 pints) of beer to a customer while on-site. Consequently, craft breweries and distilleries are growing rapidly. Charleston offers access to local South Carolina ingredients, and a climate and culture ideal for creating high quality craft spirits and beers.
Here are a few highlights of this fast growing industry:
Extreme Brewing – “Imperial Doughnut Break” and “Spicy Nachos” are just two examples of the many wildly-flavored craft beers created by Denmark-based Evil Twin, which uses Charleston-based contracting partner, Westbrook Brewing.In the same full-flavored tradition, Holy City Brewery (which takes its namesake from Charleston’s nickname) makes unique brews in its North Charleston warehouse, such as “Biscuits n’ Honey” and the “Notorious P.I.G.,”a bacon-flavored smoked porter that was featured in Food Network Magazine.
Summer Spirits- 12 distilleries have opened in Charleston in the past six years-three opening just this past summer: Charleston Distilling Co., High Wire Distillery and Striped Pig Distillery.
Inspired by Infusion –Chilled Dills, South Carolina’s first and finest pickle flavored vodka pairs well with Charleston Bloody Mary MixorFat & Juicy Bloody Mary Mix. But if you’re looking for more spice than sour, look to Virgil Kane‘s ginger-infused Bourbon – both partner with Terresentia, a local spirits producer that uses patented technology to create award-winning flavored spirits in rapid time.
Changes are a Brewin’ – COAST Brewingand Freehouse Brewing both value organic, local ingredients when it comes to brewing-they also both represent North Charleston’s transformation from an old military town to a modern industry and cultural hub. For instance, COAST Brewing sits across from Noisette Creek on the Old Navy Base while Freehouse Brewing overlooks the Ashley River, where WWII ships once docked nearby.
World’s First Sweet Tea Vodka – Made on Wadmalaw Island, Firefly Distillery is responsible for the world’s first hand-crafted sweet tea flavored vodka. Made with real tea and real cane sugar, the distillery is committed to using local ingredients-the tea, for example, is grown at the Charleston Tea Plantation located five miles from the distillery, and happens to be the only tea garden in North America.
The Best Beer Spots in the Country- The Charleston Beer Exchange was rated the “Best Beer Store in the U.S.” by RateBeer.com, while Closed For Business and Oak Barrel Tavern, are two of “America’s Best Beer Bars” according to Draft magazine.