LITTLE RIVER, S.C. (WBTW) — Gov. Henry McMaster signed a bill that changes how distilleries can do business in South Carolina, allowing them to sell food, stay open later and serve more.
The bill is called the Micro-Distillery Parity Act. It will ease restrictions on South Carolina’s micro-distilleries, such as Twelve 33 in Little River. Kevin Osborne, owner and president of Twelve 33 Distillery, said he’s been pushing hard for this bill over the past year.
“Really, us and five other distilleries in the state were the most active and involved getting that bill moved through the Senate and through the House, and recently signed by the governor,” Osborn said.
According to an article posted by Forbes.com, the bill being passed changes several things for distilleries:
- Tasting limit can be increased to 4.5 ounces; and can be unlimited if food is served
- Distilleries can serve food now
- Hours of service can be expanded from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. — 11 p.m.
- Can be open on Sundays now
- The amount of hard liquor that can be sold can be increased from 2.25 liters or three bottles to 4.5 liters or six bottles.
“As a micro-distillery we were limited to selling three ounces per person per day of the spirits we produce, and that can be in the form of a tasting or the form of a cocktail but essentially that’s two drinks,” Osborn said.
Osborn also said: “Now under the new law, we immediately can sell three drinks per person per day or 4 ½ ounces. We’re allowed to sell up to six bottles. Before we could not allow anybody coming in under the age of 21.”
Osborn said he’s very excited to start making changes. “It really allows us to do a lot more and coming out of this last year with covid, everybody’s looking for how we can get our business back on it’s feet again.”
Owner of Tidal Creek Brewhouse, Adrian Sawczuk said he doesn’t see it as a competition saying that it, “does provide a level playing field for distilleries. Distilleries were handicapped in providing that tap room environment like we have.”
Sawczuk added, “I see it as somewhat of a benefit now that distilleries can carry our product which they couldn’t before.”
Grand Strand Brewery said they see it as a way of bringing more craft beer to the Grand Strand.
South Carolina beverage law attorney Brook Bristow said this not only evens the playing field for the market but helps the state.
“Now this really puts South Carolina in a really great spot in terms of what we’re doing for our at home businesses and potentially for someone who’s outside the state whose maybe thinking of coming in so it’s a great business move for the state to encourage more entrepreneurship,” Bristow said.
In the future, Osborn hopes to get a DHEC-approved kitchen and be able to serve food. “It allows us in the future to get a liquor by the drink license which would allow us to serve even more than so we would have,” Osborn said.
More information from the South Carolina State House can be found here.