New book chronicles Charleston’s beer history

A toast to Timmons

Enthusiast Timmons Pettigrew has written a book about beer. In the forthcoming Charleston Beer: A High-Gravity History of Lowcountry Brewing, he chronicles the history of local brewing, covering everything from Colonial-era breweries and the effects of Prohibition to recent legal battles over high-gravity offerings and the rise of contemporary craft microbreweries.

"The History Press asked me if I wanted to write a book on the beer in Charleston, past and present," says Pettigrew. "We bounced around some ideas, put together a deal, and I dove into the deep end in November of 2010. We had no idea what I would or wouldn’t find, in terms of history, so the book really took shape as I researched it, eventually becoming focused on brewing specifically. I also cover our state’s crazy beer laws over time, the history and resurgence of growlers, and other tidbits."

Pettigrew, a native of Florence and a pricing strategy manager for an industrial distributor, has became a respected beer authority in town, with his knowledgeable brew-related contributions to websites like TheDigitel and publications like Eat This Charleston. His book is scheduled for an Oct. 6 release date.

"The historical content is mainly from old newspapers," says Pettigrew. "There are some great ones from the mid-1700s and some content from late 1800s News & Courier issues. We’ve got shots of 100-year-old beer bottles, brewery stock certificates, and then tons of content from all our current brewers."

The book also features more than 70 images, mostly provided by local photographer Chrys Rynearson. Expect plenty of beer-related celebrations to mark the publication date this fall.

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