Right before the South Carolina Legislature ended its session for the year, three new pieces of legislation passed (and subsequently signed into law) will give alcohol producers in the state more opportunities to grow and distribute their product.
In short, the three new laws allow for the following:
- Breweries and brewpubs can donate beer to nonprofit organizations for events, and representatives from those producers are now allowed to pour beer at events.
- Brewpubs can convert their license to a brewery license, allowing them to sign with a distributor and sell their beer outside of their facility.
- Distilleries can now pour up to 3 oz. of samples per person per day (up from the previous 1.5 oz. limit). They can also sell spirits in packaging other than 750 ml. bottles.
What do these new laws mean for South Carolina’s beer and spirit producers? For one, nonprofit organizations now no longer have to buy product for events from a brewery’s respective distributor. Instead, beer makers can donate kegs and packaged product to a given organization through their wholesaler, which was common practice up until a 2016 crackdown by state law enforcement. (The little-known law that prevented it hadn’t been enforced previously.)
Also, brewery and brewpub representatives can now pour at events, another practice that was cracked down on last year. For nonprofits, this means the stress of finding volunteers to pour on behalf of the breweries is lifted. Or at least it will be when the law goes into effect in six months.
And for brewpubs – those that produce and sell beer on site but don’t distribute – it gives them the option to convert to a full brewery license and sell their beer outside of their walls. They’ll be able to keep their food service portion intact while adding outside distribution. Additionally, breweries with a food service portion can now serve liquor drinks in addition to beer and wine. That law went into effect immediately.
For distilleries, the increased amount that can be served to an individual per day opens the option for cocktails to be served on site as well as more samples. So instead of being limited to a few small tastes, full-fledged drinks can be enjoyed during a tour, and visitors can take home product in a format other than the standard 750 ml. bottle. That law also went into effect immediately.