New bill could mean more breweries in the state

By Gregory

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Proposed legislation could create hundreds of jobs in the Palmetto State. A bill in the Statehouse aims to expand business and increase revenue for the state's budding brewery industry.

The bill is expected to pass this Tuesday.

Brook Bristow is on the General Council of the South Carolina Brewers Association. He says there are two types of breweries in the state. Brewpubs that make their booze in restaurants and sell to customers who eat at their businesses, and microbrewers who make their beer at a facility where they distribute their product to local stores.

"Brewpubs can sell an unlimited amount of beer, but they can only sell in their own restaurant," said Bristow. "Microbrewers can distribute beer, but can only sell a limited amount on site at their facility and they can't sell food."

Bristow said the bill that he helped write would allow both types of brewers to expand their operations.

"The bill essentially will allow a brew pub to distribute their product which they currently can't do, but also allow breweries to convert their license over to where they can sever food on their premises," said Bristow.

Coast Brewing Company co-owner Jamie Tenny says if the bill passes, she will finally be able to serve her customers more than a case of beer.

"I can only serve up to three pints of beer to any one customer that has a beer here, and I can only serve up to a case of beer for them to take home," said Tenny. "Beer is social, this bill will allow people to come here drink without worrying about restrictions and have food without having to go somewhere else."

Bristow says the bill will pave the way for larger breweries to come to the Lowcountry.

"Several businesses are looking to come here and invest. Stone Brewing, the 10th largest craft brewer in the country, is looking to come here and Stone alone would contribute at least 350 jobs and $30 million of revenue," said Bristow

Bristow says he's optimistic about the bill becoming law.

"The language of the bill is currently being reviewed by a committee, and we are hoping it's adopted this Tuesday when it goes back for a vote," said Bristow.

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