Proposed bill could give Charleston breweries a boost

Proposed bill would give Charleston breweries a boost

NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - Relaxing and unwinding with a couple of pints of beer is something you can't do at Holy City Brewing in Charleston.

"We have a big crowd here tonight, and the most they can spend is $5 because that's how much our tour costs," says Chris Brown, co-owner of Holy City Brewing.

According to South Carolina law, breweries can only serve 16 oz. worth of beer in 4 oz. samples to each customer on-site. That's equal to one pint of beer. Brown says patrons take their tour and usually leave within a hour.

"We're not on King Street," says Brown. People aren't walking down the street and happen to see the brewery and come in and taste the beer. People make a conscious choice to come up here and experience what goes on."

The proposed bill would increase the amount from 16 to 64 oz. of beer, which could be sold in samples or pints. Brown says that would be a boost to the state's brewing industry.

"Increases my cash flow, allows me to brew more, allows me to have more employees, create jobs for South Carolina, increase the revenue for our business."

The bill passed the state house earlier this month, but a senate judiciary committee added an amendment to the bill that would require breweries maintain liability insurance polices in the millions of dollars.

Some brewers say it's not affordable and it doesn't make sense.

"Brewers are some of the most responsible people that know their product, and they don't want people to be getting into trouble after a few beers after visiting the brewery," says Charlie Papazian, the president of the Brewer's Association. "They want their customers to come back."

"We're not trying to be a bar," says Brown. "We like the limits. We want people to come up and see what we are and what we do and be able to sample some products in a reasonable fashion."

State Senator Sean Bennett (R-Dorchester) is one of the bill's sponsors.