Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Since their launch in February, a plan has been brewing to get River Rat beer--the Columbia brewed beverage--in more than just a glass or keg.
After installing three new fermenters, brewmaster Drew Walker's team had enough beer to begin bottling on July 11th.
"Everywhere that we've been that carries us in draft, they wanted us in bottles as well," said Walker. "So there was always a demand from the get-go."
Owner Mike Tourville has seen much success since River Rat Brewery's opening, but he says the longevity lies in packaging.
"30% is kegs, 70% is bottles," said Tourville. "So for an upstart brewery, to create a packaging system is vital for it's survival."
Depending on the brew, up to 9,000 bottles are packaged per day to be distributed throughout the Palmetto State. Walker says it's a tedious process, but the demand is a good thing.
"The machine is hungry, it needs to eat and it eats a lot of bottles," said Walker. "It's a constant thing, so four people keep it running."
Tourville says the goal is to be available in time for football season.
"Knowing that I'm going to going to go into a restaurant or bottle shop or grocery store and see our product on the shelves, it's very humbling. It just tickles me."
Patrons can enjoy River Rat beer on draft by visiting the brewery's tap room on Shop Road. Each day features a different vendor or food truck, and Tourville says the pairing has been drawing a steady crowd.