Beer targeted in Grand Strand economic development plan

The Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation is working to bring one of the largest craft brewing companies in the U.S. to Myrtle Beach.

The Stone Brewing Company, which is based in California, has been looking for a new East Coast location.

Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation CEO Brad Lofton said the company would create more than 300 high-paying jobs in our area.

"I'm not sure if I've ever seen a particular company that we've tried to recruit that we think makes more sense for the Myrtle Beach area than this project. So, we are being aggressive," Lofton said.

Lofton's aggressive strategy involves a Facebook page, 'Stone Brewed on the Beach,' which aims to show the company that our community wants them to be here.

The page has gotten more than 2,500 likes so far.

Lofton said they're showing the company a property neighboring Broadway at the Beach, which attracts 14 million visitors each year.

For the past 15 years, the New South Brewing Company has been the only microbrewery on the Grand Strand that makes and ships its own craft beer.

"There's a whole segment of the tourists out there that are beer tourists, that when they go to a new town they want to try the new beer or the beer that's made there locally. They want to tour the brewery and see how we do it here," said David Epstein, who is the owner and brewer of New South Brewing Company.

Epstein also said Stone Brewing Company will be a good fit for our area.

"It would elevate craft beer as a whole. We wouldn't see it as competition, we would see it as another brewery bringing folks here," he said.

Ultimately, Epstein said there may be some challenges attracting the Stone Brewing Company to the State of South Carolina.

He said there are still some prohibitive laws, which includes regulating how much beer can be sold to consumers.

Lofton said the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation will meet with representatives of the Stone Brewing Company later this month.