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Thursday, May 23, 2013

S.C. pint bill makes it through Senate and House, awaits Haley's signature

Pint-sized

Posted by Susan Cohen on Thu, May 23, 2013 at 12:32 PM

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Back when we wrote about the South Carolina Senate's pint bill in April, things weren't looking so good. The Senate Judiciary Committee had amended a bill that would allow state breweries proposed to sell 64 oz. of beer to consumers every 24 hours in potentially damaging ways, by limiting the amount of beer breweries could offer for sample versus for sale and requiring a massive amount of insurance coverage. Summerville-based state Sen. Sean Bennett, who sponsored the original bill, was not happy.

"If [the Senate] goes forward with the other amendment, it's an awful bill for the industry, not just here in Charleston but all over the state. It's a poor economic development bill, it's a poor fairness bill, and it really just needs to be killed."

S.C. beer enthusiast Nick McCormac has been following the bill throughout its ordeal. Earlier this month, he reported on his blog Drink. Blog. Repeat. about the final compromise:

-The maximum individual on-premises consumption cap has been set at 48 ounces. That includes pints and samples. While lower than the 64 ounces originally hoped for, it still means you’ll be able to enjoy up to three pints at a brewery;
-Brewers will be fined for over-serving patrons. This, included with the original requirement that brewery workers go through DUI and safety training means more security for visitors and non-visitors alike;
-No beer above 10% ABW (12.5% ABV) can be served as a sample or a pint. You can still buy higher-ABV beers to take home, but you can’t drink them at the brewery.

The bill was returned to the state House of Representatives to consider the Senate's amendments, and it passed through there earlier today. Now it's up to Gov. Nikki Haley to sign the bill into law, which she's (hopefully) expected to do by next month.

South Carolina's breweries and beer organizations are feeling pretty good about it:

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