Charleston Co. considering new zoning for breweries - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Charleston Co. considering new zoning for breweries

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Customers enjoy samples of beer at Holy City Brewery. Customers enjoy samples of beer at Holy City Brewery.
Charleston County, SC -

When you walk into a local brewery, you can often taste the flavor of creativity and the scent of success.

For the last few years, beer creators have been brewing big bucks for the local economy. 

"We are seeing an explosion in South Carolina, and that's particularly true right here in the Lowcountry, where we have six breweries opening right now with at least four more on the way this year," Brook Bristow said.

Bristow is an attorney with the South Carolina Brewer's Association. He said the brewery industry is bringing in more than $250 million every year.

Breweries have faced several challenges over the years, including strict limitations on the amount of beer they can serve their customers. Those restrictions have since been relaxed, and now it appears another change could benefit the frothy factories.

A Charleston County Council Committee is considering a zoning change that would allow breweries to expand. Right now, they are only allowed to build in industrial zoning areas. Under the new zoning, they would be able to build in more commercial areas.

For aspiring brewers, it's often tough to find the space they need.

"It's difficult to set up a brewery, especially with the laws right now," Jack Pitts said.

Pitts has been trying to start-up a frothy factory for the last two years, but has been unsuccessful. He began looking at the glass half empty until this new ordinance came about.

"This opens up property all over the place, especially in West Ashley, for example," Pitts said. "It allows us to look at those vacancies and fill them."

If the ordinance passes, Charleston County would be the first area in the state to expand where breweries can be built. For Bristow, it shows that the county is beginning to believe more in the frothy creations.

"It's the government saying we believe in breweries and the economic boom that they are creating for our local communities," Bristow said.

The committee will take up discussion on this zoning change later in the month.

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