Craft beer laws help expand breweries’ economic impact in Charleston

CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD)  — The craft beer industry is expanding in South Carolina, specifically in Charleston.

Brewers say it’s mainly due to new laws being passed that allows the industry to grow.

“I don’t think you can say South Carolina is really playing catch up anymore,” said Brook Bristow, a beverage law attorney.

In just a decade, South Carolina craft beer production has gone from pint sized to full barrel.

“You’ve had at least a $200 million dollar increase in just the past two to three years. You have hundreds of brand new jobs directly attributable to just this business,” Bristow said.

This past week state lawmakers passed a law that allows craft breweries to donate their product to charities.

Legislators also passed a law that allows breweries to sell liquor. That will mainly affect brew pubs. It will allow those businesses to put their brew out into the market, perhaps in other restaurants or stores..

“Right now they’re only allowed to sell it within their four walls,” said Bristow.

The industry’s growth allows for those with big dreams to make them a reality.

Not too long ago Michael Biondi was brewing his own beer at home.

“My house was one side bedrooms, and one side brewery,” said Biondi.

He opened his first Frothy Beard location in North Charleston 4 years ago. But, he recently expanded to his new establishment in West Ashley that also includes a kitchen.

“West Ashley before this year didn’t have any breweries. Charleston is really relaxed on where people can place a brewery because it is a community center … people can bring their families,” said Biondi.

Charleston is also catching up to Asheville, North Carolina in the number of breweries. Charleston has 19 breweries, while Asheville has about 25.

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