Florence brewery to expand its operation

Florence brewery to expand its operation
Source: Drew Hansen
Source: Drew Hansen

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Seminar Brewing is taking over a new location in Florence and making a $1 million investment.

It's an effort to make its name more known across the region. The brewery is now on South Lucas Street, just one mile from downtown Florence and two miles from Interstate 95.

It opened its doors recently in the location that formerly housed the Young Pecan's plant. Head brewer Bryan Fisher staked out the building two years ago.

"As more time went on, it made sense to move and this hadn't sold yet. It seemed meant to be in a lot of ways," Fisher said.

Seminar's tasting room location next to Red Bone Alley was only 1,100 square feet. It can now work out of a 1,300-square-foot warehouse.

The brewery's beer is distributed across the Pee Dee and can also be found all over in cities like Greenville, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Spartanburg and Columbia.

With the expansion, Seminar now has the chance to take advantage of more retail opportunity as well.

"Now this is going to consume a lot more beer right here inside the facility, which we wanted to do and we weren't covering the entire state of South Carolina either, so we wanted enough capacity go be able to go statewide to bottle and can," said Dave Peters, Seminar engineer. "And if there's still beer production left, we'll go to North Carolina, Georgia or somewhere in the south east and try to sell them beer."

Seminar Brewing can expand its beer production by four times, according to Peters. The brewery will be able to put out beer on tap on a large scale five times a week. People will see 15 beers always on tap, compared to the six at the smaller spot.

A 25-seat bar and 60 seats for the new Kanza local flair to serve up food will be available, along with flat screen TVs, cornhole and darts.

So what was the push to invest $1  million in the local craft beer business?

"Honestly because we like it," Fisher said. "We like it. It's a really neat community. Beer people are kind, interesting. It's just a cool culture to be a part of. It helps that it's growing and can be a viable business, but it truly grew out of a hobby."

It was a hobby of five local guys who all have a connection to Francis Marion University in some way, according to Fisher.

They started talking about in 2010 and opened their first tasting room facility in 2014, followed three years later by the expansion.

"It's really neat. I mean, even when I was a home brewer, the most satisfying part was sharing it with people," Fisher said. "It's not to hoard beer and drink it all myself. You want to share it with people and learn from their feedback."

Creating an experience and destination is also a goal in the new space.

"We get people from Florida, Pennsylvania, New York who just stop here just so they can come and visit a brewery and plan their trip to stop at different breweries," Peters said.

Seminar Brewing is open every day except Tuesday. Happy hour is weekdays from 4 to 7 p.m. The grand opening celebration is on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 11 a.m., and will feature two live bands.

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