Horry Co. senator introduces bill to change 'brewpub' regulations

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A bill introduced during this week's session by Senator Greg Hembree (R-Horry) and two other SC senators would make it easier to attract a large California craft brewer to the state, Stone Brewing.

Bill S1230 redefines a brewpub as a business that produces up to 500,000 barrels of bear a year.

Currently, the law requires 2,000 barrels to be considered one. This bill would also delete the requirement that anyone applying for an alcoholic beverage license or permit must be a legal resident of South Carolina for 30 days prior to applying.

If passed, this bill would allow the company to not only sell the beer on site of the brewery, but also allow them to sell to license wholesalers in South Carolina and nonresident wholesalers and exporters.

Stone Brewing, a craft beer brewer based in California, wants to build a new facility on the East Coast, including a bar and restaurant.

Myrtle Beach submitted its proposal last month. The most enticing element is the millions of tourists the Grand Strand gets every year.

"Nobody in the country can provide the 14 million people that can tour their facility and help build their brand," said Brad Lofton with the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation. "They have acknowledged that too. We are having weekly conversations and hope and expect to be short-listed."

Community support could also sway the decision.

There is a Facebook page called "Stone Brewed on the Beach" where people can share the reasons why this community should be the chosen site.

The city's proposal has been submitted with the site on 29th Avenue North, near attractions like Broadway at the Beach and the Pelicans.

It also gives quick access to highways 31 and 22, and eventually I-95. The lack of direct access to an interstate is the biggest obstacle for Myrtle Beach, which is competing against several cities, including Charleston, Greenville, Charlotte and Wilmington.

View the full text of the bill here: http://bit.ly/1hU0Lpv 

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