Craft Brew Week brings talks of brew degrees, new breweries and local growth

Published: May. 15, 2014 at 6:00 PM EDT|Updated: May. 15, 2014 at 6:33 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - It's American Craft Brew Week and craft brew bars and restaurants in the Grand Strand are celebrating by offering some pretty great deals.

They say the craft beer industry is unique here and emerging quickly.

People in the craft beer industry want to work together to make Myrtle Beach known as a great destination for some good beer, and the city is well on its way.

HGTC is considering adding a brewing, distillation and fermentation degree, so the school surveyed 16 businesses in the craft brewing market in the Grand Strand. The results showed there will be more than 200 positions created in the next few years.

One employer's response was that the craft brewing market is growing faster than it can hire qualified employees.

"It definitely is growing. I think the interest is growing. I think businesses are popping up," says Aaron Gifford, a co-owner of Atlas Tap House. "There's obviously bars around the area that have been kind of focused on craft beer in general, but you can definitely see it's a growing market for sure. And there's interest in it for sure."

If HGTC goes through with the Associate Degree program, students could start enrolling in the fall of 2015.

If you can't make it out for American Craft Brew Week, Coastal Uncorked is coming up June 2 to 8, and there's an event craft beer lovers may want to check out.

On Friday, June 6, craft breweries from all over the East Coast will be here in Myrtle Beach for Brews 'N the Boulevard.

Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality Association says people have a lot of interest in craft brews. They're showcasing what Myrtle Beach has to offer with the New South Brewery, and to show locals it's a great industry to keep growing.

But in the future, there could also be another brewery coming to town. A bill is currently being discussed in the state Senate that would open the doors for Stone Brewing Company to build a facility on the East Coast. Myrtle Beach could be its new home. A proposal was submitted to the company in March.

It would bring hundreds of jobs, but other businesses who focus on craft beer would also feel the impact.

"Stone being here would be great for the community, great for us, great for jobs," Gifford continues. "So, we're all kind of backing it. I think the idea of Stone being here would really push front-forward the idea of craft beer. People would really focus on it more, and see that it's such a large market and such a thing. And that being said, I think more locals and tourists coming through would come in and see the Stone brewery, stick around, and check out other craft bars in the area."

You can sign your name on a petition urging legislatures to pass the bill that could bring Stone Brewing right here to Myrtle Beach. To do so, visit this website:

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