With continued and expanded growth of South Carolina’s craft beer community throughout 2014 comes a renewed mission for the South Carolina Brewers Guild – formerly known as the South Carolina Brewers Association – which held its inaugural executive committee meeting in Charleston last week to begin plotting the course for SC beer’s future.
The group met last Wednesday, Dec. 3, to elect officers and begin discussing what steps to take next and the highlight important issues to address in 2015. Greenville attorney and Stone Law author Brook Bristow was elected executive director; RJ Rockers’ John Bauknight was elected president while Holy City Head Brewer Chris Brown was tapped for vice president; Frothy Beard’s Michael Biondi will serve as secretary; Palmetto’s John Planty will serve as treasurer; and Will McCameron of Brewery 85 will head up communications.
In both 2013 and 2014, the guild was integral in helping pass legislation that helped further the growth of the state’s craft beer community. Since the Pint Law’s passage in 2013, 12 new breweries have gone into operation, adding $13.7 million to the state’s economy, according to Bristow. Around 140 jobs have been created accruing nearly $5.5 million in wages. South Carolina craft breweries have a $250 million to $300 million impact on the state economy annually, according to Bauknight.
As for what’s on deck for 2015, no official announcement was made yet, but it’s likely the guild will push legislation to lower excise taxes – those paid by breweries based the amount of product purchased – in an effort to keep more money in the pockets of breweries. At $0.77 per gallon, South Carolina has one of the highest excise tax rates in the country, according to The Tax Foundation.