Stone Brewing decides against SC for new brewery

07/26/2014 12:00 AM

07/25/2014 8:04 PM

Stone Brewing won’t be coming to South Carolina and instead has shifted its focus to Ohio and Virginia, officials said Friday.

The San Diego brewery — the nation’s 10th-largest — notified the state Department of Commerce that South Carolina is no longer a candidate, department spokeswoman Allison Skipper told The Greenville News.

A Stone spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request by The News to comment.

With the backing of the Commerce Department, communities across South Carolina — Greenville among them — responded to a “request for proposals” that Stone issued earlier this spring and pushed hard to land the project.

Another candidate that had been in the mix — the city of Greensboro, North Carolina — was told that the brewery was turning its eye toward Ohio and Virginia, Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan told The News.

The brewery intends to invest $31 million in a new production facility to service east of the Mississippi, which will lead to more than $100 million in annual revenue, according to its RFP.

At the tail end of the legislative session, state lawmakers overhauled the state’s beer-production laws to attract the company — even naming the legislation the “Stone Bill.”

The overhaul was necessary to make legal what Stone wants to do: operate a large-scale production brewery to meet cross-country demand in conjunction with a restaurant on site that would market the facility as a tourist destination.

The resulting new law cleared a path for breweries already in South Carolina to serve food and lift restrictions on the amount of beer they can serve on site.

The state had restricted consumption to three pints per day, which brewers said hampered their efforts to be tourist destinations and bring in supplementary income.

While the effort to attract Stone didn’t succeed, South Carolina is now “well-positioned to win these kinds of projects in the future,” Skipper said.

The brewery recently announced plans to build another brewery and bistro across the Atlantic in Berlin, Germany.

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