Stone Brewing says no decisions made on East Coast location

The Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp. reported Tuesday morning that it had been told by the S.C. Department of Commerce that Myrtle Beach was not on a narrowed list as a possible site for Stone Brewing Co.’s East Coast operation.

But the company said later that it is still in the process of making those decisions.

“We aren’t disclosing the cities in which we are still considering,” Stone Brewing spokeswoman Sabrina LoPiccolo wrote in an email late Tuesday afternoon.

Earlier, LoPiccolo had written that the report of Myrtle Beach being eliminated was not correct, and that no South Carolina city had been stricken as a possible location.

Besides Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Lexington County, and Greenville had submitted proposals for the new brewery.

Stone, the nation’s 10th largest craft brewery, announced on its website earlier this year that it would accept proposals from places wanting to be home to the brewer’s new $30 million East Coast operation, which would create hundreds of jobs.

South Carolina had to change its law to allow for brewpubs such as Stone Brewing to produce significantly more barrels of beer a year and sell its product on site.

EDC spokeswoman Morgan Dendy said that the EDC’s information came from a commerce department project manager, whom she would not name.

The project manager confirmed the information after hearing that LoPiccolo said no location had been ruled out, Dendy said. She said the project manager said it came from a consultant Stone Brewing hired to scout locations.

The manager told the EDC that the consultant wouldn’t recommend Myrtle Beach as a location.

Dendy said the EDC sent out the morning advisory because reports had begun to appear on the Internet that other cities had been selected as finalists.

“We wanted to address that before anybody saw it and asked why we didn’t say anything,” she said.

Television station CBS 6 in Richmond, Va., said that Richmond was among the finalists. Fox Channel 8 in Greensboro, N.C., reported on its website that Greensboro was also on the short list.

Channel 8 said in its online report that the list also included Greenville, Cincinnati, and Richmond and Norfolk, Va.

Dendy said she couldn’t explain the inconsistency, but suggested that LoPiccolo’s first email referred to communications being sent out about a narrowed list and that may not have happened but the company may still have narrowed its list of contenders.

Commerce department spokeswoman Allison Skipper said that she couldn’t talk about which South Carolina cities might or might not be on a “finals” list for the brewery.

Dendy said that the community’s and EDC’s effort to snare Stone Brewing positioned the area to compete for other large breweries.