Brewpub bill that would allow for Stone Brewing Co. introduced in SC House

A bill that would amend South Carolina’s brewpub law so that Stone Brewing Co. could brew and sell its beer at the same location was filed in the state House of Representatives on Wednesday.

The bill is a duplicate of one introduced recently in the Senate.

The legislation would allow brewpubs to produce up to 500,000 barrels of beer a year and still sell their product at the brewing site. The current limit is 2,000 barrels a year.

Stone Brewing Co., the nation’s 10th largest craft beer brewery, is searching for an East Coast location for a brewery. Central to the plan is having a bistro adjacent to the brewery that would sell its beers as well as food.

The Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp. has submitted one of several proposals from South Carolina wanting that brewery.

“The state Department of Commerce is doing exactly what they promised to do,” said Brad Lofton, president of the Myrtle Beach economic development group. “This is going to make us competitive, not only for Stone Brewing, but for other brewers.”

Without a companion bill in the House, the Senate bill would have had to be passed and sent to the House by Thursday to get full legislative approval in the current session. Both versions of the bill have been sent to the Judiciary Committee of their respective chambers.

Stone Brewing plans to begin construction on its new brewery late this year, and would need the legislation to feel secure in putting the operation in South Carolina.

Sen. Greg Hembree, R-North Myrtle Beach, co-sponsored the Senate version of the bill. The House version was co-sponsored by Rep. Alan Clemmons, R-Myrtle Beach.

Clemmons could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.