David White
Native Charlestonian David White started The Dropping Pin taste and travel blog in 2008 | Photo by Jay Wayne | Credit: Jay Wayne

“We call him the Mayor,” people say.

Of course, David White isn’t the actual mayor of Charleston but that’s the nickname that his friends and family lovingly refer to him as, said Tawana Tolbert, one of White’s “real friends.” White has a lot of friends. You might know him as the Dropping Pin guy. He’s a staple in the Charleston food and wine scene and if you know, you know.

“I’m the black food guy of Charleston,” White proclaimed.

Born and raised in Charleston’s Eastside, White is a stranger to no one. His warm presence and ear-to-ear smile, is welcoming to everyone who crosses his path. White began his love affair with the Charleston community as a young participant in the Boys and Girls Club. After high school graduation, White traveled up to Orangeburg for college, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from South Carolina State University.

Upon returning to Charleston, he began working in social services. Soon after, he helped to found the nonprofit, R3 Incorporated, a youth program to help younger generations become integral parts of their communities through activism and academics. R3 has helped juveniles re-enter society and helped students to reach high school graduation. The program also largely supports Laundry Matters, which provides a free, safe space for low-income residents and the homeless to clean their clothes.

“R3 reached out to me as a freelance publicist in 2013,” Tolbert recalls. “I worked on a couple projects and newsletters for them. And then we just became really good friends.” Tolbert’s velvet voice and tone conveys a deep love for White. The two continue to work on multiple projects outside of R3 because naturally when you love and care about your community as White does, the path opens up for multiple ways to support it.

“Tawana has been around almost since the beginning. She’s the logical one to make my wild ideas make sense. She’s crafty with her words and usually is able to translate my thoughts into what I want to say. She’s been a hip hop publicist in the area for years and coming over to my line of work was new to her. But she’s a beast,” White said.

White has hosted events with Tolbert’s public relations assistance at Edmund’s Oast Exchange, Edmund’s Oast Brewing, Container Bar, The Watch Rooftop Kitchen and Spirits, and Commonhouse Aleworks, just to name a few.

Photo by Jay Wayne | Native Charlestonian David White started The Dropping Pin taste and travel blog in 2008

About The Dropping Pin

Way back in 2008, White started a blog called The Dropping Pin, a taste and travel profile.
“This was back before Instagram, when if you wanted to know about an area, you might google “Lowcountry food” or “Charleston food,” White said. If so, you’d find his blog detailing the Charleston food scene. While White admits he’s not much of a writer, he does love taking photos and posting them for people to enjoy.

“Videos and photos have become my forte. Most of my satisfaction comes from hearing friends and family say they enjoyed their experience with a place I have chosen for them.”
From there, things began to fall into place. Restaurants and breweries began reaching out to White to create content for his blog. The networking events grew and then came the collaborations.

During the pandemic, White teamed with Tha CommUnity, a black woman owned brewing concept. Together, they took an idea to Holy City Brewing.

Next, White teamed with Revelry Brewing Company. Owner Sean Fleming described his relationship with White: “He’s always been super supportive of Revelry. When he shows up, it’s a party.” The fit was natural and Revelry was more than happy to work with White, Fleming said.

“Never Let Me Down,” is a brew released in June 2022. The sessionable wheat ale targets a nostalgic Charleston summer day. White’s eyes sparkle just a little more when he talks about this beer and his friendship with the owners of Revelry. He admits Revelry is his favorite brewery. “I love all kinds of beer but the vibe is something that keeps me coming back.”

“He’s just a good dude,” Fleming said, “and we love to support his mission.”

White’s beer, “Never Let Me Down” is an homage to Kanye West’s College DropOut album from 2004.

“Chris Kemp and I came up with the design and I came up with the name of the beer. It’s one of my favorite songs and speaks triumphantly. It reminds me of where I came from and the adversities I’ve overcome being a black man in Charleston. It’s also a reminder to always bet on David.”

Looking to a more diverse future

As the craft beer industry continues to grow and we look for more ways to diversify not only our portfolios but our representation, I wonder how I can bring more diversity to my own taproom. I asked White, “How do we as a community get more BIPOC {Black, indigenous and people of color) to apply to our breweries?”

The answer isn’t as easy as it sounds. “We are more than kitchen staff,” he said. “Continuous education, hosting events with black community leaders and working with black travel groups to facilitate tours are all ways to increase exposure to my community. We want to feel like we belong.”

Between various events and projects downtown, White teamed up with Jesse Van Note and Andrew Ross, owners of The Whale, to bring Wu Wednesdays to Charleston. While Wu Wednesday — weekly tribute events for music like that of the Wu-Tang Clan — is not an original concept and can be found in various locations around the country, White hosts the local meetup, continuously bringing between 40 to50 people to each event. Although it’s not on a consistent schedule, White said he tries to plan at least one a month. The meetup includes a DJ spinning an eclectic mix of jams and the crowd really gets into it.

Other events you can find White include the Black Food Truck Festival, and Charleston Wine and Food.

While White said he enjoys traveling, his heart remains in Charleston for the foreseeable future. When he travels, White likes to connect with other influencers in the area and learn the dynamics of that space and how he can bring that knowledge back to Charleston.

“As cliche as it sounds, I want to live like we don’t have tomorrow. Don’t let what you don’t know hold you back,” White said. “My best experience traveling so far was to Barrel and Flow black-owned beer festival in July.” And he said he has more plans to travel soon to San Diego and Colombia. Of course like most beer aficionados, his ultimate beer destination is Germany.

White is so popular in Charleston that most recently, he had a day declared for him by the city.
“David White Jr. Day is the last Monday in May every year. Mayor [John] Tecklenburg recognized me for the positive contributions to my community through R3 Inc, local youth non-profit and Laundry Matters, the only public laundromat on the Eastside of Charleston that serves as a community center as well. I don’t have a lot of plans for the coming years, but I do designate that weekend, “MemorialDave Weekend” to serve my community and have some fun.”

So maybe he really is the mayor — or could be soon.

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