South Carolina craft brewery tasting bill makes it to the Senate (update x3: Last stop, Gov. Sanford)

Image by Flickr user Narisa

Update May 26:  After Senator Phil Leventis removed his objection, H. 4572 passed through three Senate readings, and the amendments the Senate made were just approved by the House.  If my calculations are right, the bill just needs the Governor's signature, and we will have legalized (but limited) retail & brewery tastings and direct brewery sales in South Carolina.

If this happens, Governor Sanford will have signed both the "Pop the Cap" legislation and this bill into law.  Maybe he'll go down in history as more than just Governor Cassanova after all...

Update May 7: Here's a bit more on why bill H. 4572 is stalled.

Update May 6:  Houston, we have a problem. Twitter is exploding with urgent calls to contact Senator Phil Leventis, who is contesting bill H. 4572, which would allow beer tastings at retail outlets AND breweries.  H. 3693 will march onwards regardless, but H. 4752 is a "best of both worlds" bill that would fully legalize beer tastings in our state.  Again, these are rights already afforded to both the wine and liquor industries.

If you support the bill, please contact Senator Leventis at (803) 212-6000,, or via his page at the State House website.  The quicker the better folks, today's session is not over yet!

Update May 6:  From @COASTBrewing via Twitter:

Bill 3693 just passed Senate Sub.Comm, Full Senate on Tuesday


Also, if you're just wading into this issue, we'll point out the Charleston City Paper's article which brings some nice perspective and good quotes; read it here.

Update April 29: The meeting has been pushed back a couple days to May 6 at 9:30 a.m.

A bill traveling through the South Carolina legislature that would finally legalize limited on-premise tastings and direct sales from craft breweries has made its way to the Senate, and it needs your support.

We've been following the dramatic rise of H.B. 3693 since its introduction in this year's legislative session after failing last year. The limit of four samples and a case of beer per person per day (in conjunction with a tour) was part of a compromise between the South Carolina Brewer's Assocation, headed up by COAST Brewing's own Jaime Tenney, and our state's wholesalers. While the limit isn't ideal, it's the compromise that gives the bill such promise this year.

After several successful readings and passage in the House, the bill will be read for the first time by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, May 4th. You can see a list of committee members and their contact information by visiting the State House website here. Please take a minute of your day to express your support to them.

While the bill is an obvious win for craft beer lovers, its implications reach a little further than that. It's also about a thriving local economy, and strengthening our state's position in the booming southeastern craft beer industry. If we can't get our laws on par with states like North Carolina, which now has 42 breweries to our 5, then brewers are going to look elsewhere to set up shop, and rightfully so.

Besides that, if I can't get my HopArt fix, these articles are going to get a whole lot nastier.