South Carolina Makes Pro Craft Beer Move

Business, Craft Beeron June 4th, 2014No Comments

Last night, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed into law the “Stone Bill”, which removes restrictions on smaller beer making companies in the Palmetto State.  The bill allows breweries the ability to operate on-site restaurants serving food (such as brewpubs) and lifts consumption restrictions for on-site restaurants serving food (from 48 oz. per customer).  Companies operating under the new regulations will be able to sell beer, wine and cider produced by other beverage manufacturers, and will be able to apply for retailing permits to sell bottles and cans on-site.

Current brewpubs (that don’t manufacture on-site) could convert their current permits to brewery licenses, but any such conversion restricts the brewpub from the ability to sell liquor.  Brewpubs would have the right to sell their beer to wholesalers, for off-site distribution, after conversion as well.  Producers cannot hold both a production brewery license and a brewpub license/permit.  Currently, it costs about $400 annually for a brewery license, while brewpubs pay about $2,000 annually for a brewpub license/permit, in South Carolina.

The Stone Bill was promulgated with hopes of enticing popular out-of-state beer producers such as Stone Brewing, based in San Diego, and Deschutes Brewery, based in Bend, Oregon, who are looking to open sister breweries (much like New Belgium Brewing and Oskar Blues Brewing have done in Asheville) along the east coast.  In any event, the new law will benefit local craft breweries already based in South Carolina.

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