Recent numbers from the South Carolina Brewers Guild show breweries in Palmetto State have created a $13.7 million economic impact since a 2013 change in state law.
The change, known as the “Pint Law,” now allows South Carolina breweries to serve up to 48 ounces of beer on-site for consumption. Previously, breweries were only allowed to serve four ounces and a tour of the brewery had to be included.
There are currently 20 breweries in the state. Twelve have opened since the law passed.
The South Carolina Brewers Guild drew that $13.7 million boost only from the newer breweries to open since the Pint Law was signed. Not only have South Carolina beer makers showed that they are brewing up business for the state, but the World of Beer Festival keeps returning for the same reason.
“Seven years ago we started, we brought the World Beer Festival to Columbia at a time where there wasn’t a lot of specialty beer around the state from South Carolina,” All About Beer Magazine president Chris Rice said. “There were maybe two breweries at the time. So now we’ve got 20 breweries in South Carolina. These are folks who are embedded in the community. These are entrepreneurs that are artists, and they are interested in bringing flavors of beer to the state that hasn’t been here in a while.”
One of those breweries, River Rat Brewery, has been operating in Columbia for nearly a year. Owner Mike Tourville said what really has helped his business is the passing of the “Stone Law,” which allows his brewery to serve food and a room to open pour.
“A tap room is in a survival manual of a brewery,” Tourville said. “You need that cash up front or cash flow coming in because all your cash flow is up front buying your equipment. Your loans, your kegs, everybody wants their money up front. I think it adds flavor, character. Again, a local drinking hole. It’s made here. It’s fresh. You come here and this is the freshest beer we’ve got. Flavor is the key.”
The staff of Old Chicago Pizza, which is coming to the Vista was doing their tour of brewery Thursday, tasting what beers they will feature locally when they open February 3rd.
Tourville says it has only been a year since River Rat took their first order and for the short time they have been up and running he is happy with how his brewery is doing.
Beer from South Carolina breweries will be featured at the World Beer Festival Saturday at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.