Get your whiskey glasses ready: New craft distillery planned for Grand Strand

Photo courtesy of Kevin Osborn
Photo courtesy of Kevin Osborn

Little River could become home to a new craft distillery by the end of the year. Twelve 33 Distillery will be a small batch distillery using local ingredients.

Owner Kevin Osborn said the distillery will make rums, whiskeys and vodkas — though not moonshine. He said the benefit of craft production is allowing for more creative products.

"I love that you can make something unique," he said.

This is not Osborn's first time making alcohol. He brewed beer in college and made wine while living in California. He moved to the area last year and believed the conditions were right to open a distillery. He took classes on best techniques and recently purchased a hand-made still from Germany, which is currently in production. He also is getting a still made in Missouri.

All production of the spirits will be done locally.

Osborn submitted an application to Horry County to start the business. The distillery will be located in the same shopping center as the Dunkin' Donuts on Highway 90 in Little River. The building once was a Wings beach store.

Currently, the inside of the location is empty and open, but construction will begin when it receives county approval. Osborn said in the application he intends to make separate spaces for production, tastings and for retail.

And, for loyal customers, there will be a hidden 1920's themed speakeasy. Osborn said the general public will not know its location in the store or the pass code to enter.

The application said the distillery's hours will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Osborn said he is still waiting for his zoning application to be approved and expects to be open toward the end of 2018.

Craft breweries and distilleries are sweeping the nation as consumer reports show growing interest in locally sourced alcohol. The trend has not reached Myrtle Beach as quickly as it has other areas.

"The industry itself is exploding right now," Osborn said.