Craft Beer Law Change on Fast Track

beernewspgaSouth Carolina is on the verge of passing the most progressive craft beer production laws in the country, industry advocates say — a prospect that just three weeks ago was virtually unthinkable.

The “Stone Bill” — an effort to loosen Prohibition-era beer laws to attract San Diego-based Stone Brewing Co.’s $31 million eastward expansion — has already been approved by the state House of Representatives.

On Thursday, the state Senate assigned the bill to a six-member conference committee that is expected to meet as early as next week to iron out details.

Half of the committee’s House and Senate members sponsored the bill, said Wesley Donehue, a political consultant for the South Carolina Brewers Association.

“We made magic happen,” Donehue told The Greenville News on Thursday. “To pass a bill this fast in South Carolina is something I’ve not seen, especially when it comes to alcohol. It’s pretty insane.”

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