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Microbrewery to be added above future Fat Patties in Bluffton

Nick Borreggine has been tight-lipped for two years on the companion business for his Fat Patties burger restaurant that he hoped to bring to Bluffton.

After months of planning, public meetings and a zoning amendment, Borreggine finally revealed Monday that Salt Marsh Brewing will occupy the second floor of his new restaurant on Bluffton Road. He made the announcement at a groundbreaking ceremony for the restaurant and brewery.

Borreggine said the brewery has been a dream for almost 19 years. The brewery originally was planned as a separate building on Bluffton Road, but was added above the Fat Patties after Borreggine learned the building needed to be two stories to meet town regulations.

Borreggine's partner in the brewery, James Brown, is a Hilton Head Island native and veteran craft-beer brewer. Brown said the brewery's small size will allow it to focus on boutique beers that highlight local history and flavors.

Some will evoke the area and its history through their names, such as the State of Mind Saison or the Round Tuit Pale Ale. Others, like the Sherman's Necktie scotch ale, served Monday at the groundbreaking, will be named for their brewing process.

Borreggine explained that the bourbon barrels used to age the ale resembled the twisted railroad ties from Maj. Gen. William Sherman's March to the Sea campaign during the Civil War.

When the brewery opens, it will have four or five beers available, but Borreggine hopes to expand that to 12 or 15 varieties. The beers will be served at the Fat Patties restaurants in Bluffton and Port Royal and in the beer garden outside the Bluffton restaurant. Borreggine also plans to have canning and bottling operations.

This marks the second announcement of a brewery in Bluffton in less than a week.

On Wednesday, owners of Southern Barrel Brewing Co. said they will open in February at Buckwalter Place. The brew pub will sport a tavern, an outdoor beer garden and a 10,000-square-foot production facility. It will rise next to CareCore National and Ace Hardware, according to plans.

As for the Bluffton Fat Patties, it will have the same menu as the Port Royal location. Borreggine opened that restaurant on Parris Island Gateway in August 2012. It offers 18 types of burgers and five types of patties: grass-fed beef, half bacon and beef, shrimp, turkey or black bean.

Construction of the new Fat Patties and brewery is expected to take seven months and start this week or next, Borreggine said.

Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.

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