COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — A Senate Judiciary subcommittee okayed a bill that would let you bring more of your favorite South Carolina craft beer home from the brewery.
The panel sent S.566, also called the South Carolina Craft Beer Economic Development Act, to the full Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday afternoon. Changes are expected to be made to the bill.
The legislation as currently written has the support of the South Carolina Brewers Guild. President Pearce Fleming said, “We want to mutually grow both the brewery and wholesale business models. We believe we can push our economic output to $1.5 billion by mutually grow the three-tier system.”
Right now, South Carolina breweries may sell up to 288 ounces (equivalent to a case) of their product to a customer for off-site consumption. The bill would eliminate that limit.
While speaking to lawmakers, Fleming noted other states like Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee do not have a limit on sales to customers for off-premises consumption.
The legislation would allow bonded transfer between brewery facilities, breweries to self-distribute a certain amount of product and allow them to apply for special event permits to serve at events without going through a non-profit organization.
The South Carolina Beer Wholesalers Association opposes some of these changes. Executive Director Lance Boozer said they’re willing to work with the SC Brewers Guild, “We are not here to hold the bill hostage.”
According to Boozer, beer wholesalers are worried some of these provisions in the bill would allow craft breweries to act as retailers, going against the state’s three-tier system for alcohol sales.
He said they would support increasing the take-home limit to 768 ounces which would allow breweries to sell kegs to customers.
Before the full Senate Judiciary Committee takes up the bill, lawmakers have asked the beer wholesalers and breweries to come together to help draft compromise language.