As the craft beer industry continues its boom, so does the local business of selling beer.
I recently set out to find the best craft bars in the area, but then I thought, “what about the places you can buy beer to take home?”
Here are three totally unique spots on the Grand Strand where you can grab something crafty:
Everyone wants local beer. They say they want what they can’t get at home.
Mr. Fish Seafood Market
▪ 6307 N. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach. Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily
Opening earlier this year in a new location, Mr. Fish Seafood Market has an incredible selection of seafood with everything from crab, shrimp, local fish, lobsters, to oysters -- but that’s not all. This spot has created something totally unique by combining a fresh seafood market with a craft beer growler station with eight taps and fantastic bottle/can selections to build your own six-packs.
Nicole Davis is the director of marketing and social media for both the Mr. Fish Seafood Market and the Mr. Fish Seafood Restaurant located right next door. She is also the brains behind craft beer in the shop.
“It’s an untapped market. People think that wine and seafood go together, but you’d be surprised how well beer goes with it. Also, I noticed the need for a craft beer market on the north end of Myrtle Beach. We are right in between Greens and Fresh Market so it made sense. We have such a huge local and tourist following, it just made sense.”
As for the beer selection, there’s plenty of variety and each option has a reason for being there.
“A little on the selfish side, I get to hand-pick all of the beers so of course I shop there multiple times a week.” Although Nicole likes lots of different styles of beer, her favorites are IPAs, so always look for there to be a fresh and delicious one on tap.
“Talking to people about beer is my favorite thing to do at work! Being able to educate people or turn them on to it really makes me happy! If it isn’t music, coffee or bicycles, it’s beer in my every day life. Craft beer is my passion and I think people see that and get excited as well,” Nicole said.
Atlantic Discount Spirits
▪ 2901 U.S. 17 S., Garden City. Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
A little more than a year ago, a growler station was born at Atlantic Discount Spirits.
This isn’t just a little spot either, it’s a wall of 14 taps for growler fills! Jim Varcadipane, owner of Atlantic Discount Spirits, believes that craft beer is the new wine. He says the growler station used to be the wine section, but because so many people from out of state visit his store looking for local beer, he decided to make the change.
“Everyone wants local beer. They say they want what they can’t get at home.”
One of his most popular beers: Holy City’s Pluff Mud Porter, of Charleston.
He does have a lot tourists come in; his location sits right on a roadway that takes you out to the beach and beach rental properties.
“I see a new batch of people every weekend, and they all want something different, so I keep many different styles on tap. You can sample the beers here, too, so I keep the right glassware handy so you get the full experience of aroma and taste.”
Since opening the station, Jim says he has done more than 6,000 growler fills just in the growlers that he sells in shop. He also says it’s so successful that there’s plans for expanding the station to 28 taps!
For me, visiting Garden City is often a special trip, but given that many tap options for growler fills, I might have to go more often.
The Bottle Shop at the Pantry
▪ 1015 Fourth Ave., Conway. Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily
The Homebrewer’s Pantry has been a staple for the local beer and wine makers of the area since opening in March 2014. Along with being the spot to pick up all of the necessary brewing equipment and ingredients, it’s also been the place to share the results of your brewing ventures.
The ability to share home-brew in a home-brew shop is like eating dinner at the dinner table, but now it’s not just home-brew anymore. In July, The Pantry became an ultimate “beer nerd” destination with its new bottle shop and growler station -- the only stand-alone bottle shop in Conway.
“We always planned on having beer available for our customers. Even in the planning stages of The Homebrewer’s Pantry. We weren’t expecting to have such a great first year in the homebrew shop, so we were able to expedite the bottle shop. We weren’t expecting to open that side until next year,” said owner Thomas Lucas.
What’s even better is that The Pantry is set up so you can get a growler fill to take home, create your own four- orsix-pack, or have a glass or two in shop.
Thomas added: “We are not going to carry any ‘grocery’ beers. So the stuff you can normally pick up at a grocery store, you won’t find here.”
That means you will find an extremely diverse and eclectic collection of beer. Maybe you’ll even be inspired by the beer you’re sipping and create a recipe on the spot. It’s great because you get everything you need in one place.
The Bottle Shop currently has more than 35 bottles, cans and bombers, as well as four taps with beers from the Carolinas. Expect that number to eventually get up their goal of having 73 different beers available to coincide with their phone number: 843-73BEERS.