Cunningham’s attempt to raise awareness on Lowcountry breweries hits snag on House floor

Freshman Congressman brought six-pack to highlight importance of breweries on local economy

VIDEO: Cunningham’s attempt to raise awareness on Lowcountry breweries hits snag on House floor

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - It appears First District Rep. Joe Cunningham is still learning the “House rules.”

Politico reporter Laura Barron-Lopez reported that Cunningham attempted to bring a six pack of beer into the house chambers on Friday and got denied.

Cunningham then made light of the situation, joking that he was just trying to make friends as a freshman house member. The tweet read, “Making friends when you’re a freshman is hard and I thought I’d grease the skids with some Lowcountry beer. Thankfully @RepPeterDeFazio got it in the end! Can I join the beer caucus now?”

Oregon 4th District Rep. Peter DeFazio is the Chair of the House Small Brewers Caucus, which he founded in 2007. It is a bipartisan group of 231 members from 43 states.

Despite Cunningham’s lighthearted tweet, his spokesperson, Rebecca Drago, said the beer was not so much an effort to make friends but rather a means of bringing awareness to the important craft brewery industry in South Carolina. He has always made it a priority to highlight Lowcountry breweries and the important role they play in the local economy and tourism industry, she said.

The Holy City has nearly 30 breweries, and that industry, Drago points out, has been impacted by the ongoing government shutdown.

“He has been talking to his colleagues about the Lowcountry’s thriving craft brewery scene, and wanted to give some to [Rep. DaFazio],” Drago said. “Unfortunately, he had a flight to catch immediately after votes and didn’t have time to bring it to DeFazio’s office so he thought he’d be efficient and bring it to the floor.”

That didn’t work out, Drago said.

But in the end, it all worked out: DeFazio did receive the six-pack. Barron-Lopez then tweeted a photo of Defazio walking away with it.

Upon closer inspection, it appears there were at least three Westbrook beers, which is a brewing company based in Mount Pleasant.

Cunningham’s campaign last fall included a number of meet-and-greets at breweries around the Lowcountry.

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