For the first time in three years, beer enthusiasts will be able to taste a lot of beers at the in-person Charleston Beer Festival | Provided

Get your steins ready. South Carolina will have more than its share of October beer events and activities to attend. After several years of cancellations and delays due to hurricanes and pandemics, beer festivals are back and they’re bigger than ever.

Whether you are new to Charleston, a veteran of the area or a visitor, October promises to be filled with all the craft beer that your heart desires from the 35-plus breweries in Charleston and almost 50 throughout the Lowcountry. Phenomenal growth in recent years has led the industry to generate thousands of jobs and pump millions of dollars into the local economy.

So lace up your boots and lederhosen: This year’s Oktoberfest is one you won’t want to miss. Support local. Drink Local. Stay Groovy. 

Oct. 15, Columbia
Best of S.C. Craft Beer Festival

The South Carolina’s Brewers Guild has 83 brewery members across the state and continues to grow. With almost 130 breweries statewide, reaching 100% membership is one the Guild’s main objectives. 

“We’re excited for the Guild’s inaugural Best of S.C. Craft Beer Festival for many reasons,” stated Terry Horner, vice president of the S.C. Brewers Guild’s board of directors. “One, it will be the largest gathering of South Carolina craft breweries ever held. Two, it’s 100% dedicated to beer produced in the Palmetto State. 

“Three, it pairs award-winning beers with live music, a dance hall DJ, live music by Prettier Than Matt, food from local favorites and craft beer-related vendors. Showcasing our in-state breweries for craft beer lovers across the Southeast is a unique opportunity we couldn’t pass up, and one that we are eager to turn into an annual tradition.”

Horner said South Carolina’s craft beer industry was still in its infancy compared to other states.

“However, this event is evidence that the guild has made great strides with the help of so many partners to provide value and engagement to its membership,” he said. “We feel an event of this magnitude will help get the word out about the quality and unique flavors South Carolina craft breweries are known for.”

The S.C. Brewers Guild Festival first festival will feature 65 breweries Oct. 15 at Junction 800 in Columbia.

“As you can imagine, finding a date in a centralized location in a state that lives for college football can be difficult,” said Laura Voyles, events and affiliate membership coordinator of the organization.

While the date that was chosen is during a busy beer time of the year, she said the guild believes featuring the state’s breweries in Columbia in October will give the entire state a chance to come together to sample regions they otherwise might not get to. Beyond providing a stellar festival, the guild aims to create a diverse component and platform to showcase all that the state has to offer. 

“South Carolina’s craft beer scene has always been fantastic, but even many within our state haven’t realized just how many great local drinks are made right here in their own backyard,” said Guild President Pearce Fleming, owner of North Charleston’s Commonhouse Aleworks. “The Best of S.C. Craft Beer Festival is an incredible opportunity to showcase that, and to bring together the brewers and craft enthusiasts that make our beer industry so special. 

“We look forward to using the awareness and focus an event like this brings to continue to modernize South Carolina’s rules and regulations to support and uplift our small businesses, breweries included.”

The festival will feature live music, food trucks and beer education. There are more sponsorship opportunities available. Tickets can be purchased online at its website scbeer.org. 

Oct. 22, North Charleston
Charleston Beer Festival

It’s been three years since the last Charleston Beer Fest and folks are thirsty for it to return.

Provided

“This year we are excited about being back!” said Richard Reems, director of marketing and development at Palmetto Community Care. “It has been too long since we came together to celebrate all the amazing breweries in our area, and we cannot wait until the doors open at noon on October 22!” The last in-person beer festival in 2019 was also the first year that the festival was held at Riverfront Park in North Charleston. This year, revelers can expect to see participating breweries from the region, musical acts throughout the day as well as vendors, artists, sponsors and supporters of Palmetto Community Care, which says it is excited to have the festival back in full scale. 

While the festival was canceled in 2020, the festival in 2021 was brought to Charleston under slightly different circumstances. Thanks to the pandemic, the producers decided to err on the side of caution and scale the festival as a “beer week” event instead of a one-day festival. Breweries across the county participated by having discounts, selling merchandise and hosting pint nights to support the cause instead. 

“We are fortunate that this festival already has solid [sanitary] practices in place that prepared us well to emerge from the pandemic,” Reems said. “Everyone will receive their own commemorative festival mug for beer samples and pours. Hand-washing and sanitizing stations will be scattered around the park for everyone to access. 

“We will be rolling out a standard festival code of conduct along with a new mobile safety app. We want everyone to drink, dance and have a fun time, and this is how we create space for people to Drink Beer And Do Good.”

The festival organizers also said they would continue to find creative ways to expand and invest in the loyalty of its audience by consulting world-renowned festival producers. This year, they spoke with marketing experts from Coachella, Stagecoach and Bonnaroo for ideas on innovative best practices. The VIP areas will continue to expand and there will eventually be a V-VIP area. 

“Future festivals will also have customizable packages for businesses who want to make Charleston Beer Fest a team-building or social outing for their employees,” Reems said. 

One thing is for sure, he said. This year’s event will take place — rain or shine. It’s been too long since the Lowcountry has come together to celebrate the craft brew industry in a festival venue, Reems said. 

“We are dedicated to creating a festival where breweries and distributors who want to expand to Charleston introduce their best at Charleston Beer Fest, national music artists want to be a part of the lineup and great beer is had by all so that money can be raised for the essential work of Palmetto Community Care!” Reems said. 

You can find the full schedule at
chsbeerfest.org and sponsors include: Avita Pharmacy, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, LoopIt, David Aylor Law, Total Wine, Jensen & Farrell, Haller Law Firm and more!

Oct. 28-Nov. 6, various locations
Charleston Beer Week

A lot of people are very passionate (re. tattoos) about Charleston Beer Week | provided

Ah, Charleston Beer Week… Ten days of nonstop events, friends, family and fun. Charleston Beer Week (CBW) has seen its share of cancellations due to hurricanes, a 1,000 year flood, date conflicts and distribution meltdowns. Yet, it perseveres! Just like the people of Charleston. 

HOPS met recently with Chris Winn, CBW’s new executive director, to discuss how he plans to continue the former director’s legacy while creating his own footprint in 2022. Winn said he aims to make up for previous years’ cancellations due to the pandemic and hurricanes. Half of 2017 and 2018 CBW events around the region were canceled due to hurricanes. Events were shifted in 2019 and 2020, only to be knocked out by Covid-19. By the time 2021 rolled around, people were eager to move forward with events, but were cautiously optimistic. Attendance was markedly lower than expected.

“We have to maintain our culture in this city,” Winn said. “In the expansion [in local brewing] we are seeing, it’s easy to get diluted. Beer Week is the chance to revitalize what our beer community looks like, tastes like, drinks like, feels like and why it matters. We have to maintain the soul of this industry.”

Now with close to 40 breweries currently in the Charleston metro area, there is plenty of soul to be found.

“We’ve got new breweries, tertiary breweries, gypsy breweries. We have to become clear as to what beer week means. The proof needs to be in the pudding this year,” Winn said.

You will definitely be able to find the proof in the pudding with Tha Community, a gypsy brewery by the Traveling Hoptista aka April Dove. Her collaborations have popped up all over town and have wowed folks all over the Lowcountry.

“What I’m most looking forward to bringing to the festival season is another creation of beer,” Dove said. “Tradesman has been gracious enough to allow me to brew on their two barrel system for CBW and Charleston Beer Festival. I’m excited to serve my creation to enthusiasts of beer.”

One thing you can always rely on CBW to produce is community and enthusiasts. There is no lack of loyalists. Each year, CBW puts a new spin on its logo and encourages partygoers to permanently get the art tattooed on their body. Yes, you read that correctly! CBW encourages you to get its logo tattooed on your body and in doing so, you can receive weekly, monthly, yearly or even lifetime discounts at certain locations on beers and products.

CBW 2022 will open Oct. 28 with a Brewer’s Ball at Edmund’s Oast Brewing Company and close with a Finale Party on Nov. 6 at The Garden at Charles Towne Fermentory. In between, there are close to eight events every evening from Summerville to James Island to Isle of Palms.

Volunteers are needed. If you are interested, please reach out to Chris Winn via the CBW website for more information. Planning is still underway so be sure to check the calendar for the most up to date information. 

For more info: charlestonbeerweek.com.


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