Craft Beer Boom Continues In Midlands

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - This month, two new craft beer businesses will open in the Midlands and will add to an industry experts say has doubled in size over the past year.

"We've gone from 2-3 years ago being the laughing stock of the southeast and the country to being one of the most progressive states in the entire country," said Nick McCormac who writes a blog called Drink, Blog, Repeat.

McCormac believes some recent changes in state law mean more local brew on tap in the coming months.

"You see craft beer obviously growing in North Carolina, Charleston area, and Greenville. They've been growing and growing and nothing really grew here," said Doug Boyd who will open a new brewery in Columbia with his brother later this month.

The pair started dreaming up Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company 5 years ago.

When it's tap room opens, it will be the third craft beer taproom in the Midlands.

The South Carolina Brewers Association says since a new pint law passed last year, the industry has added 3,000 jobs and pushed more than $250 million into the economy.

"There's no infrastructure between them like there are in other cities where craft beer is already a much bigger thing," said Cam Powell who with a group of buddies founded the Columbia Brew Bus.

The former church bus will have a make over in the next week and will roll on it's first tour later this month taking enthusiasts to beer spots in Richland and Lexington counties.

"Half of the reason we're doing the tour is to grow Columbia's beer scene," Powell said.

The bus will stop at places like River Rat Brewery, which opened in March 2014.

The brewery says they're supporting other businesses like bands, food trucks, and merchandize makers who often take part in brewery events.

"Not only are they going to check out the brewery, they're going to check out other businesses in the area," said Tyler Pawelkop with River Rat. "They can see 'oh yea Columbia is up and coming and growing.'"


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