Stone bill brews up more conversation in the Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The craft brewery bill is signed and sealed and now conversation is focused on how to deliver more beer distributors to our area.

Now that the craft brewery bill is set in stone, we're one step closer to possibly seeing Stone Brewing Company, the tenth largest craft brewer in the country, expand to our state. One area of interest, is Myrtle Beach. One spot getting consideration is near Broadway at the Beach.

The passing of the stone bill is a big step for the state, but it's a waiting game to see if we've made the short list for Stone Brewing.

The Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation says it's continuing to push the Grand Strand to the company. One way is through a social media campaign.

Facebook group 'Stone Brewed on the Beach,' has gained more than 8,000 "likes" since its launch mid-March. The MBREDC hopes if you show interest on social media, the company will be drawn to move to the beach.

The passing of the craft brewery bill is creating a lot of buzz because it doesn't just come with beer - it comes with big bucks. This means craft brewing companies can expand and produce more beer in our state. The industry has a $34 billion economic impact nationwide, so, if Stone Brewing Company comes to our area, we can get another taste of that growth.

The California-based company is more than just a place to make beer. The $20 million-plus facility would include a restaurant, outdoor beer garden and a retail store. It will even serve as a site for tourists to tour.

Not to mention, the projected production of a half a million barrels of beer a year, which is why this bill's passing is so important.

While the Grand Strand hopes stone brewing company will brew in our backyard, the "Stone bill," promises so much more. It allows craft breweries to produce unlimited amounts of beer in our state, which increases the likelihood breweries will expand to our area. Right now, South Carolina has fewer than 20. One local brewery is New South Brewing in Myrtle Beach.

When you look at other states, we have a lot of growth to tap into when it comes to craft beer.

"North Carolina, you see almost a three to one difference in the economic impact, they have 117 breweries there because of the difference in the law. Now with the passage of this bill, South Carolina will be able to compete to attract stone and other national breweries," says Senator Luke Rankin.

Keep in mind, each brewery comes with more jobs. Stone Brewing is looking to hire more than 300 local employees, wherever it decides to expand. A spokesperson for Stone Brewing says the company is still evaluating where it will move to. They would not reveal the locations under the company's radar and say a date to reveal the east coast location hasn't been announced.

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