THE STONE BILL: WHAT THE COMPROMISE ACTUALLY MEANS

The Stone Bill has successfully assed the House (unanimously) and Senate (one nay)! Go out to your local brewers and have a pint to celebrate this great day for growing the beer industry in South Carolina!

BEER OF SC

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Yesterday was a historic day in South Carolina. The Stone Bill not only got through the conference committee, but an agreement was reached between the South Carolina Brewers Association and the South Carolina Beer Wholesalers Association. And this isn’t just a deal. It’s a BIG deal. But, what does it actually mean?

Time was short yesterday with all of the activity, but through a flurry of tweets (https://twitter.com/brookbristow), I tried to explain some of what the deal actually meant. But, let’s try to go beyond 140 characters. First, the highlights. Then, an explanation (if applicable).

Here’s the agreement:

  • Instead of putting the new language in the brewpub section of the South Carolina Code, the language will fall under the tasting/sampling/brewery operation section. This provides the wholesalers with many protections, including territorial restrictions, and no termination of contracts without just cause. Those protections are crucial to protecting wholesalers.
  • Breweries…

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Stone Bill Compromise Reached?

Stone Bill Decision Today?

The Greenville News has a thorough article on the Stone Bill’s latest standing: http://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/politics/2014/05/27/battle-brewing-today-craft-beer-bill/9623327/

Wesley Donahue has tweeted that a compromise was reached, but no news has been officially published yet. Prior to the meeting, Wesley shared that the SC Beer Wholesalers Association wasted no time working the lobby before the committee. If I were a corporations with fears of little brewers starting to think they could distribute beer on their own, I would have been playing the politicians fiercely as well. At least Wesley had something goodthough briefto say about the compromise.

If you are not already following Wesley, Brook Bristow and the South Carolina Brewers Association, then I encourage you to do so to get the latest information about the bill.

Stay tuned!

Stone Bill Committee Meets Today

The six-member committee meets today to discuss the bill, and scbeerjobs.com is set up to send them all an email and let them know how much we support this bill. Head to the site for another quick sign-up to shoot this new group a message about how you want to see more jobs in South Carolina.

beerAs would be expected, Anheuser-Busch has finally reared it’s gigantic head at this well-meaning bill, claiming that new laws allowing our state’s few, small brewpubs to produce more beer and distribute on their own threatens the three-tier system that overwhelmingly works in their favor. Let these representatives know that the locally minded, community-invested, creative brewers behind our craft beer industry deserve to have some of the current distribution, production and sales limits relieved from them so they have more of a chance to compete with the monopolizing AB InBev.

If you haven’t seen the letter AB InBev sent out a few days ago, head here: http://beerstreetjournal.com/read-anheuser-buschs-lawyers-fight-stone-bill/

A huge thanks goes out once again to the SC Brewer’s Association, Brook Bristow, and Wesley Donehue for keeping everyone educated about the Stone Bill’s progress.

The Rat is Growing!

What’s a visit to Columbia without a stop at River Rat? I headed to town two weekends ago specifically for the release of the Lost Port Vanilla PorterMother’s Day weekend festivities, and was happy to spend an afternoon with the beers and brewers I adore.

20140518-191720-69440073.jpgAfter a successful launch just two months ago, River Rat Brewery has wasted no time expanding across South Carolina. Their beers have been on tap at Growler Station, Community Tap and Greenville Hop House, and I’ve had a few growlers of the Broad River Red Ale at home. Coincidentally, River Rat entered the Charleston market this past weekend while I was visiting; it was exciting to hear commercials about their beer while I was driving through the Holy City.

The latest release, the Lost Port Vanilla Porter, boasts smooth drinking with a little smokiness, a little bitterness and a lot of rich vanilla that deliciously lingers. The dark brown color and milky head give way to an unexpectedly light-feeling beer. Oh, what I’d do to have taken home a whole keg of this one!

The beer offerings aren’t the only things to change around the brewery. A gravel parking lot 20140518-191719-69439208.jpghas transformed into a grassy escape, with picnic tables, a vast deck and room for a band. I ate lunch with brewmaster Drew–I’d had the luck of running into 2 Fat 2 Fly food truck and getting some mac-and-cheese-stuffed wings–who filled me in on the latest happenings and gave me a tour of the facilities. The biggest difference is that brewer Mark left and has been replaced with Tyler Pawelkop, a seasoned beer rep. Oddly enough, Tyler recalled our meeting back at the Community Tap Beer Festival, when he was working for Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery.

Another big difference inside: barrels. A lot of them. I was giddy to see the collection of Woodford Reserve and Jack Daniels barrels in the brew space, patiently waiting to be filled with a River Rat creation. Barrel-aged stouts are one of my favorite beers, yet River Rat doesn’t currently offer a stout. Maybe they have a new beer brewing they haven’t mentioned? Or perhaps a staple such as the Hazelnut Brown or the Moncks Corner Abbey Ale will find a new home? The barrels were filled this past Tuesday, so hopefully we’ll find out soon!

Growlers of Lost Port Vanilla Porter and Hazelnut Brown Ale alongside the Double IPA

Growlers of Lost Port Vanilla Porter and Hazelnut Brown Ale alongside the Double IPA

While the beer is spectacular, half the fun of going to River Rat is the people: Mike wasted no time playfully scoffing at my Brewery 85 shirt, Logan and Tyler entertained at the bar, and Drew indulged my questions for more than an hour.

If any Greenvillians want to hop down to Columbia for a day at River Rat and Conquest (and Swamp Cabbage, perhaps by summer’s end), let me know!

 

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Goodbye, American Craft Beer Week

How did you celebrate this epic week?

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I chose Quest for my first event, where I put in my vote for the Brewers vs Bartenders competition. The respective groups brewed their own beersan oak-aged Scotch Ale and a Black IPA. Did you try them? Which one did you prefer?

20140513-195438.jpgI also stuck around for the latest cask: an Imperial Stout with Granny Smith apples and bacon.

This was a big week for Quest, which launched a new app on Google Play to help you keep up with the brewery and also released the Ponce cucumber-jalapeno session ale. I wrapped up my ACBW with another visit to Quest, where I chose an Ellida hop-experiment rather than the new Ponce. I’ll be sure to post about it when I finally get to try it.

With a mid-week Fitz and the Tantrums concert down in Charleston, my local adventures were limited. I returned on Saturday to attend Brewery 85’s Wheatfest, the official release of the 864 Weizen. There is not question that Will McCameron and the Brewery 85 staff knows how to party. The lovely Darby Wilcox lilted for drinkers, while Bavarian Pretzel Factory kept everyone fueled for another round. This classic hefeweizen offers a gorgeous golden color and a nice effervescence, something drinkers will be craving on the brewery’s expansive patio this summer.

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Southern Pale Ale at Poe’s Tavern, Sullivan’s Island

Speaking of great beer and summer, I’m planning to visit in the coming weeks since Westbrook should be releasing Mexican Cake! If anyone hears an exact date, do share. Though my trip this week was brewery-free, I did at least get to sip something new: Freehouse Brewery‘s London 2014 India Porter, which paired well with my Tattooed Moose dinner, and Natty Greene‘s Southern Pale Ale. What a tasty showcase of Cascade hops! This Greensboro, NC-based brewer just began releasing in South Carolina earlier this year, so I’ll be looking for more in the Greenville area.

 

Today’s the Day to Pass the Stone Bill!

Did you see the awesome news this week? The Stone Bill passed the SC House of Representatives! We’ve won half the battle in getting this progressive bill passed, and now it’s time to tackle the Senate, where the bill is already facing some negative attacks.

Head to scbeerjobs.com right now and take a few seconds to submit your name and email address to the system, which will send a letter on your behalf to all SC Senators.

You can also use this form to contact all Senators and urge them to CONCUR with H3512, a bill that supports job growth and economic development. Be sure to share this on Facebook and Twitter with the #scbeer hashtag so we can keep the support going strong!

Screen shot 2014-05-15 at 8.57.00 AMA HUGE thanks goes to Brook Bristow for keeping everyone in the loop during this session!

 

Email SC House Members Now!

If you dropped by scbeerjobs.com last week and signed up to send an email to the SC Senators in support of the Stone Bill, THANK YOU!

But now it’s time to rock the House. Head to scbeerjobs.com to follow the same steps to send an email to House members. In case you get an error message, you can also send an email to all House members by filling out this contact form in support of H5153 (the “Stone Bill”).

Get to work!

New Beers on the Way

It’s been a little too quiet around here partly because I’ve been working on some other beer-related projects but mostly because I’ve been busy blabbing on Twitter. Come say “hi” at @SCBeerChick! More posts are on the way soon, including a review of Greenville Growler Station’s Beer 101 classes (a new semester begins tomorrow!) and an update on the Stone Bill.

This past week has welcomed a number of new beer announcements. Here are a few of my most anticipated brews:

River Rat Brewery
As luck would have it, my Mother’s Day visit to Columbia this weekend will include a new beer! River Rat’s Lost Port Porter, brewed with Madagascar vanilla beans, hits the taproom along with live music and BBQ Bus.

Brewery 85’s 864 Saison
It’s a beer release and a party all in one May 17th. This Bavarian-style Weizen boasts a unique recipe, with German hops melding with Southern-grown ingredients.

Seminar Brewery
Florence’s first commercial craft brewery has finally opened its doors! I’ve been patiently awaiting Seminar’s beers since I first stated their work at BrewHaHa last fall. A beer road trip is in order!

Swamp Rabbit Brewery
Nichole is letting secrets slip (thanks!) and tweeted today that Ben Pierson is giving a nod to his Lexington Avenue Brewing days with his Raspberry White Ale. If you hear a release date, please share.
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Are you excited about any new beer release? Do tell in the comments!