South Carolina Pushes Loosened Beermaking Regulations: EOT Beer News

The USA has always had an undercurrent of moral concern over the consumption of alcohol. See Prohibition as an example. While in some countries such as South Korea, the government subsidizes alcohol so the people will have cheap things to drink, in the US, beer, wine, and spirits are often viewed down the nose with disdain by the moral elite. But we craft beer enthusiasts know that adult beverages can be consumed responsibly by adults, and that governmental limits on either their production or consumption do nothing but encourage organized crime (again, see Prohibition). Well, Stone Brewing Co. has had a big impact on a state that still enforced Prohibition-era beer laws.

Stone Brewery is the 10th largest brewer in the US, and although it is certainly not a microbrewery, it nevertheless is a craft brewer, producing some highly-rated beers. Stone is based in San Diego, California, and it wants to spend millions of dollars moving its market and influence eastward. One place it wants to enter is South Carolina. South Caroline can tend to be a conservative state, and this is reflected in its beer regulations. Beermakers in South Carolina can choose to operate as a brewpub or a brewery, but not both. A brewpub can produce unlimited beer, but can only sell it there in their brewpub, whereas a brewery can produce unlimited beer for distributing, but can only sell three pints, per person, per day, at their facilities.

Stone Brewing offered a proposal to South Carolina to change this law. They basically said that, if the state would allow them to operate as a brewpub but also distribute beer, then Stone would move operations into the state, promising a $31 million investment, and at least 250 new jobs. South Carolina lawmakers could hardly afford to refuse. In addition to allowing brewpubs to also distribute beer, the state has also increased brewpub annual production limits from 2,000 barrels, to half a million barrels. This is an enormous change, and it shows that South Carolina is interested in promoting good beer business. We craft beer enthusiasts should therefore support this move.

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