Food Lover Events: March

First Thursday On Main at Good Life Cafe

glcThursday, March 1

Join Good Life Cafe during First Thursday, and jam out to The Post Timey String Band! They will have great deals on both specialty bottled and canned beers! The evening’s special menu will include BBQ Jackfruit Sliders with Grilled Pineapple, Chili Cheese Fries and Buffalo Cauliflower Bites! More here.

Good Life Cafe AD-spring2018


Trivia at Liberty Tap Room

Thursday, March 1

triviaJoin Liberty Tap Room in the Vista every Thursday for Themed Trivia! This Thursday is Parks and Recreation Trivia! Get your team together, come play, and yada, yada, yada, you win fabulous prizes! Enjoy $8 pizzas from 5-10pm, and $4 for most pints / $2.50 for most half pints on tap. You can also come in early for some great happy hour specials, from 4-7pm. More here.


The Big Belly Burger Contest | Hampton St. Diner

Saturday, March 3


The new Hampton St. Diner is holding a Big Belly Burger Contest! Think you have what it takes to win? You’ll need to finish a giant burger made from 5 lbs. of Angus beef, with 1/2 lb. of pepper jack cheese, a whole onion, mushrooms, spicy chipotle mayo and topped with lettuce, tomato and a jar of pickles! There’s more – a basket of Freedom Fries and two milkshakes! Compete for your chance to win $150, a T-shirt and title as reigning “Big Belly Champion! More here.

Richland Co Sheriff’s Foundation Inaugural Oyster Roast & Pig Pickin

Saturday, March 3 

ben-stern-576106-unsplashJoin RCPD from 1-5pm at Hay Hill Events (1625 Bluff Road, Columbia, SC) for this benefit. Enjoy an afternoon of fellowship along with steamed oysters and delicious barbecue,  with all the sides and fixins. Tickets are ALL YOU CAN EAT and will include all your food, shucking supplies, drinks (beer & wine for those ages 21 & up), along with live entertainment by the Blue Dogs. Get your tickets now! More here.

2018 Carnaval at Rioz

Sunday, March 4


Carnaval, the annual Brazilian festival, is coming to Rioz! This special night of performances and dining will feature the Brazilian Fusion Dancers and Our World Festival Samba Bateria Drummers, with dinner for only $24.95! More here.

Whodunit? Desserts | Town Theatre

Saturdays, March 3 and 10

From March 2-18, Town Theatre will present The Game’s Afoot. You’ll love this hilarious whodunit! Get your tickets to the show on Saturday, March 3 or Saturday, March 10 and they’ll add some mouth-watering munchies to this evening of mystery! All you have to do is go out to eat and then bring the receipt to Town Theatre. Your dinner receipt will be exchanged for dessert, which will be provided on the patio before the show! Dessert will be served from 7:15-7:45PM. Receipts must be dated March 3 or 10 with a time stamp of 4PM or later. And, if you can’t grab dinner, they’ll still serve you dessert ($3)! Homemade selections may include Death by Chocolate, Lethal Lemon, Coconut Crime, Coffin Cookies and/or “I Spy” Pie. More here.

Jameson Dinner Nite! | Frayed Knot Bar & Grill

Monday, March 5

jamesonHave you ever wanted to try Jameson Whiskey? The Frayed Knot is having their first ever Jameson Whiskey Nite event! Tickets are $40 per person or $70 per couple. This will include a 3-course meal with tastings of Jameson IPA, Jameson Caskmates Stout, and Jameson Black Barrel. Limited seating. Text 803-509-1711 to reserve your table (last name, phone #, how many). Menu and more here.

Main Street Public House

Thursday, March 8

image (5)

Join MSPH for great live music in March! Coming up on March 8 is Mo Lowda + The Humble. Eat while you groove.  Featuring a menu you’ll love no matter what your mood.  Check it our here.   And you can find the rest of MSPH’s music calendar, which includes such great acts as the Mark Rapp Group, The Orange Constant, and Pierce Edens here.


Grazing For Graze Benefit Food Truck Rodeo -Summerville

Sunday, March 11

This is a Food Truck and Craft Vendor rodeo to benefit employees of Graze restaurant in Summerville, which is rebuilding after a fire in February. Food vendors attending the event include Area 51 Foods, Braised in the South Food Truck, Damiano’s Wood Fired Pizza, Dashi, The Holy City Cupcakes, Miss Katie’s Sweets LLC, The Ice Cream Team, JBs Bucket List, and Pep Rolls, with more to come. More here.

March Harvest Dinner

Monday, March 12
immo-wegmann-544228-unsplashEnjoy a harvest feast at City Roots farm! Executive Chef Frank Bradley from Bourbon and Farm to Table Resident Chef Liaison will prepare a family style, four-course farm to table dinner featuring seasonal ingredients from local farmers and artisans. Enjoy a welcome cocktail by Bourbon on Main Street and wine pairings by Advintage. Tickets here.

T.G.I.P.D. (Thank Goodness It’s Pi Day)! | Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe

Wednesday, March 14

Kaminskys 3.14 2018 Columbia FULL pageCelebrate National Pi Day at Kaminsky’s in the Vista! They will be offering their signature pies for just $3.14 per slice from 5-8pm on March 14! Kaminsky’s “most excellent” desserts are prepared fresh each day by talented pastry chefs. Don’t miss this great deal! More here. 

St. Pat’s Sunset Dulcimer Dinner Cruise

Friday, March 16

slmmmmCelebrate St. Pat’s with a classic Irish meal aboard the Spirit of Lake Murray! The sunsets on the beautiful waters of Lake Murray are incredible, and so are the Bangers & Mash! Dinner menu: includes such Irish delights as Pub Chicken Curry with White Rice, Traditional Irish Bangers with Mushroom Gravy, Sauteed Cabbage, Carrots & Onions, and Chocolate Guinness Cake for dessert! Relax with friends, family or clients as you listen to the soothing sounds of live dulcimer music by nationally renowned entertainer, “The Dulcimer Guy”! More here.

St. Pat’s in Five Points

Saturday, March 17 

Shake your shamrocks at the 36th Annual St. Pat’s in Five Points – one of the largest green and Gaelic celebrations in the Southeast! This popular event will feature over 20 bands on 5 stages, FREE children’s area, parade, Silent Disco, arts & crafts vendors, and more! There will also be plenty of eats, with three food courts and a food truck rodeo. This year’s vendors include BBQ Bus, Brain Freeze Italian Ice, Carolina Cookin’, Crave Cupcake Boutique, Happy Thai, Lamb’s Bread Vegan Café, The Ono Grindz, Party in a Pita, Pawleys Mobile Eats, Real Mexico, San Jose, Time to Eat, Village Idiot Pizza, and White Duck Taco Shop. Don’t miss Craft Alley – a variety of regional, distinctive specialty craft brews that will be available on Santee Ave. More here. 

2018 Greater Lexington Chamber Spring Oyster Roast

Thursday, March 22
charlotte-coneybeer-183671-unsplashBeer, wine, food…oh yeah, oysters too! The Annual Spring Oyster Roast, presented by Lexington Medical Center, is one of the Greater Lexington Chamber and Visitors Center’s signature spring events you don’t want to miss. While you eat and drink, live entertainment by tokyo joe will be playing all night. Other food vendors include PK BBQ, Tin Lizzy’s Cantina, The Wolf Pizza Co. and Topper’s Rhum. Tickets here.


Lake Murray Cruise, Buffet Luncheon and History Tour

Friday March 23 | 12pm – 3pm

ssssssssssssssssssssssWe’re setting sail for an afternoon adventure aboard the beautiful Spirit of Lake Murray and you’re invited! You’ll enjoy a relaxing 2.5 hour cruise on sparkling Lake Murray, be treated to a bountiful lunch buffet, and hear a tour guide tell us about the history of the lake… its creation, the area and its significance in World War II. Spring is a gorgeous time to take one of these cruises. Tickets are limited so hurry! Click here for information.

Commissioner’s Cup BBQ Cook-off and Festival

Saturday, March 24

commissioners-cup-bbq-cook-off-and-festival2The 7th annual Commissioner’s Cup BBQ Cook-off and Festival at the SC State Farmers Market will be held from 11am- 3pm. Enjoy tastes of South Carolina barbecue by cook teams from all over the state. There will be live music, an exciting kids’ area, antique tractors, food vendors, and more! Tickets are $5 per person, children under 12 get in free with a 3 canned goods donation to Harvest Hope Food Bank. More here.

Brunch at Swamp Cabbage Brewery

brewSunday, March 25 (reservations required by March 23)
Savor the unique culinary skills of Jean-Louis and Yvette (from the Belgian Waffle Truck)! This popular event will sell out quickly, so don’t wait to reserve your seats! Brunch will include four courses, including vegetarian options, an dessert. Drinks are not included, but a special beer pairing will be available for $10/person. Tickets here.


Shoot N’ Shuck Benefiting Congaree Land Trust

Sunday, March 25

Have a fun-filled day at the Palmetto State Armory Outdoor Shooting Complex, during Congaree Land Trust’s first Shoot N’ Shuck! Experienced and novice shooters alike are encouraged to attend. Enjoy shooting, fundraising, oysters and beverages at this event for a worthy cause. Tickets are limited! More here.

Kid’s Night with the Easter Bunny!| East Bay Deli

Wednesday, March 28


East Bay Deli in West Columbia holds a Kid’s Night every Wednesday where, from 4-9pm, kids eat for FREE (limitations apply)! At Kids Night in March, kids can meet the Easter Bunny from 6-8PM! More here.

A Taste of Lake Murray 2018

Thursday, March 29

mGet your tickets today to A Taste of Lake Murray 2018! Tickets include food, drinks and live entertainment from the two local bands, Men of Distinction and Tokyo Joe! Tickets are $65 a piece. All proceeds go towards supporting the fireworks held on Lake Murray every 4th of July. Check out all of the event’s Food Trucks and Vendors, and get tickets here.

71st Annual Bake Sale & Luncheon

Thursday, March 29



The St. Katherine’s Philoptochos Ladies group will hold this year’s event from 10am – 3pm at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral (1931 Sumter Street). The menu includes delectable Greek dishes like Chicken Souvlaki, Pastitsio, Greek Salad, Orzo, Spanakopita and Tiropita! Additional offerings include Easter Bread, Easter Baskets, Pastries (Baklava, Koulourakia, Kourambiedes, Flogeres, Finikia, etc.), cookies, cakes, dressings and spices. You can also order frozen pans of Spanakopita, Tiropita and Pastitsio to bake at home, or you can order dinner ahead and pick it up between 4-6pm (call ahead: 803-461-0249). The St. Katherine’s Philoptochos Society is a dedicated group of women who are members of the The Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Columbia. They work throughout the year to help those in need. Come on out to support them and enjoy some Greek delicacies! More here.


BBQ & Blues

Saturday, March 31
bqbBBQ & Blues at the Icehouse Amphitheater in Lexington will feature Blues Hall of Famer Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues. Joining Mac on stage will be Columbia’s own Blues Deluxe. Along with the great Blues music there will be free samples of BBQ from Hudson’s, Old Mill Brew Pub, Roy’s Grille, PK BBQ, The Kingsman and Keg Cowboy! Samples are included in the ticket price. More here.



Easter Sunday Brunch Cruise

Sunday, April 1

ppppppppppppppppppppSpring has sprung, and it’s the best time of the year for a relaxing cruise aboard the Spirit of Lake Murray! Spend your Easter Sunday enjoying a 2-hour Easter Brunch cruise as you take in the wonderful views of Lake Murray. Brunch menu includes favorites like Southern Shrimp & Grits, Country Biscuits & Sausage White Gravy, Cinnamon Baked Apples, Chef’s Pasta Salad, Fresh Spinach, Walnut & Strawberry Salad and Mixed Berry Delight for dessert. More here.

Easter Sunday Sunset Dinner Cruise

Sunday, April 1

ssssssssssssssssssssssSpend some quality time this Easter Sunday with friends & family, sailing aboard the Spirit of Lake Murray! Gliding over the sparkling waters of Lake Murray gives the perfect natural backdrop for photos and fellowship. Dinner Menu includes traditional Easter dishes like Honey Baked Ham with pineapple, Rosemary Turkey Breasts, White Rice with Brown Gravy, Classic Squash Casserole, Fresh Broccoli Salad and Chef’s Carrot Cake for dessert. Make some lasting memories on board the Spirit of Lake Murray this holiday! More here.

Easter Sunday at Rioz

Sunday, April 1

Rioz Cola Easter Flyer

Stay Tuned… we’ll bring you new food and drink events again on April 2nd!

Want to know what’s happening this week? Click here to see This Week’s Top 10 Things to Do! or better yet, subscribe and we’ll send you the list every other week via email.

Cheers! I’ll Drink to That!

Love is in the Air!

By Andrew Johnson, Co-Founder of Craft And Draft and contributor

Couple drinking beer.jpegI’m usually not a romantic person – ask my wife – but since I do enjoy a quality date night with her whenever possible, I view Valentine’s Day as a great excuse for us to enjoy some fine dining in our city. There is certainly no shortage of top-notch restaurants in Columbia, and there are several quality styles and options, which naturally brings me to make this about beer. There is some great beer being produced in this town at some fine establishments which are more than deserving of a V-Day visit. Here are some beer related dates that you and your Valentine are sure to enjoy.

“Valentine at the Brewery” at Swamp Cabbage, Wednesday, February 14th: Join Yvette and Jean-Louis, the fine folks behind the Belgian Waffle Truck, at Swamp Cabbage as they offer a four-course meal paired with beer for only $30 (beers extra). There are seatings at 5:30 and 8, so grab your tickets before they sell out!

“Romancing the Stone” at The Whig, Wednesday, February 14th all night: Low-lit? Check. Small and comfortable? Check. Great beer? Triple check. Not many folks do tap takeovers better than The Whig, especially when it comes to beers made by Stone. If you’re hitting Main Street or The Vista for dinner, do yourself a favor and stop by before or after (or both) and treat yourself!

“Pick a brewery, pick a flight,” any brewery in town: Have your date pick the brewery to visit, and once your there YOU pick the flight! Enjoy beers from Columbia Craft, Conquest, Hunter-Gatherer, Old Mill Brewpub, River Rat, Swamp Cabbage, or Twisted Spur! Most breweries allow at least four samples, which leaves the two of you plenty of room to try something new and exciting! Remember, flights are only four to five ounce samples, so don’t be scared to venture out of your normal flavor boundaries! You and your date will certainly appreciate it!

These are just a few suggestions I have to satisfy both you and your V-Day companion. If you’ve already made dinner plans, I suggest stopping by your local craft beer bar (I know a pretty damn good one on Devine Street) and enjoy a pint or two of your favorite before or after the big night and raise a toast to you and your Valentine! Cheers, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company | Pups and Pints

Sunday, February 4 | 921 Brookwood Dr | (803) 939-2589

scbppJoin Swamp Cabbage for a great time! Every first Sunday of the month, bring your furry dog family member(s) and have a pint or two! If you bring an item from the Humane Society’s wish list you will get a $1 off your pints! See Wish List and more here.

Yoga & Beer at Conquest Brewery

Sundays through June 3, 2018 | 947 S Stadium Rd.

Enjoy one hour of yoga at Conquest Brewery, with a pint to enjoy after, for just $10! Let yoga instructor Jean Boiteau help you relax and get your groove back. Extra yoga mats are available. Get tickets here.

Mardi Gras Bar Crawl

Friday, February 16 | Liberty Tap Room Vista, 828 Gervais St.

Sponsored by Michelob Ultra and Bud Light, this First Annual Mardi Gras Bar Crawl will begin at Liberty Tap Room, then head to Moriartys Irish Pub, World of Beer and Tin Roof. Wear your best Mardi Gras outfit, get your Mardi Gras beads and masks at check-in, and enjoy drink specials throughout the night! Raffles will take place throughout the event, with prizes going to the winners. More here.

Craft And Draft: Bold Rock Cider & Chocolate Pairing

Thursday, February 22 | 2706 Devine St.

bcHosted by Craft And Draft and Evolution through Chocolate, this Cider and Chocolate Pairing will feature decadent, handmade artisan chocolates paired with Bold Rock’s great craft hard ciders for a totally unique tasting experience! At Craft And Draft, Columbia’s premier craft beer store and growler shop. More here.

Onesie Bar Crawl

Saturday, February 24 | 2 – 10PM

toa-heftiba-176152Join hundreds of bar crawlers dressed up in their best Onesies, PJ’s, Sweatpants, or Snuggies! Your ticket to the event includes a Onesie Bar Crawl T-Shirt, Koozie & Map, and you’ll enjoy great drink specials during the crawl, along with DJ’s spinning tunes, a professional photographer on hand, Snapchat filters at every bar to help capture the moment, and an end-of-the-line epic onesie after party! Bars include Carolina Ale House – Vista, Vista Union, Flying Saucer Columbia and Liberty Tap Room in the Vista, with more to come! More here.



Rioz: Now Taking Reservations for Valentine’s Day!

Sunday, February 11 – Wednesday, February 14 | 410 Columbiana Drive 

Rioz Cola Valentines Day Extended

Valentine’s at the Brewery | Swamp Cabbage

Wednesday, February 14 | 5:30 – 8PM

clem-onojeghuo-207467It’s not too early to start thinking about Valentine’s Day and making plans for that special someone! During Swamp Cabbage Brewery’s “Valentine’s at the Brewery” event, you’ll enjoy four exceptional dinner courses, dessert, and optional special beer pairings! Reservations are required by Friday, Feb. 9, so don’t delay! Get tickets here.

News Flash

Valentine’s at the Brewery | Swamp Cabbage

Wednesday, February 14 | 5:30 – 8PM

clem-onojeghuo-207467It’s not too early to start thinking about Valentine’s Day and making plans for that special someone! During Swamp Cabbage Brewery’s “Valentine’s at the Brewery” event, you’ll enjoy four exceptional dinner courses, dessert, and optional special beer pairings! Reservations are required by Friday, Feb. 9, so don’t delay! Get tickets here.

Under The Foam: Craft and Draft


Craft and Draft: Wine Wednesdays and Food Trucks

2706 Devine Street | 803.764.2575

Join Craft and Draft for Wine Wednesdays, featuring $5 off select wines by the glass. Craft and Draft also offers $1 off pints to ALL military and first response personnel! Check Facebook to see which food trucks will be set up at C&D every night from Thursday through Sunday, through the end of September. Trucks will vary each night, and will operate from around 5pm to close!

Swamp Cabbage Brewing: Three Year Anniversarybeer

Sunday, August 20th | 1pm – 6pm | at Swamp Cabbage (921 Brookwood Drive) | Free admission and kid friendly

Join Swamp Cabbage in celebrating THREE years!! There will be live music, food trucks, misters to keep you cool, plus enjoy special release beers all day! The live music will be featuring Whiskey Bears and The Black Bottom Biscuits. Random Taste and Ludicrous Foods will be there serving up some great food too, plus Swamp Cabbage will have a commemorative glass for sale celebrating their 3 year anniversary and commemorating the solar eclipse! Visit event FB page here!

The Casual Pint: Solar Eclipse PartySolar Eclipse Party

Monday, August 21st | 1pm – 10pm | at the Casual Pint Vista (807 Gervais St.)  or Lexington (217 Saluda Springs Rd. Suite A, Lexington) | $75 per person

Where are you going to watch the eclipse? Does it offer all of the beer that you can drink? Casual Pint in the Vista and their second location in Lexington do! Enjoy half off food specials, all you can drink beer and receive a free viewing glass too! Get your ticket(s) here for Vista locationGet your ticket(s) here for Lexington location.


Under the Foam: June 2017


Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company

921 Brookwood Drive | 803.939.2589Rubrum IPA crop

Swamp Cabbage had a new Rubrum Red IPA Bottle Release in March. This fabulous IPA has a blend of Centennial and Chinook hops to provide bitterness, and a heavy dose of Cascade to lend a floral aroma. If you’re an IPA fan, you’ll really enjoy this one! More here.

Twisted Spur Brewing

70TS brew5 Gervais St | 803.764.0203

Start your weekend off right! Twisted Spur’s newest brew is “Red Menace IRL” – an India Red Lager, conditioned for two months to ensure a crisp finish. Balanced with a touch more malt than a traditional IPA, at 5.5% ABV and 48 IBU, this IRL is a refreshing addition to any meal! Stop in tonight and try it!

You Have to Try this Place: Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company

This family-owned brewery and taproom is located just a stone’s throw from Williams Brice Stadium in Columbia South Carolina, and is one of the newest breweries on the city’s burgeoning craft beer scene. Swamp Cabbage likes to mix it up by using interesting ingredients like chipotle peppers Swamp Cabbage(just a whisper of heat) in their Chipotle Amber and pumpkin pie spices for their wonderful Harvest Amber (this writer’s favorite), as well as brewing excellent traditional ales. Try a flight to get a taste of the current offerings. Bring your growlers along ~ know you’ll want to get them filled! 

The taproom’s atmosphere is laid-back, relaxed, put-your-cares-on-hold. The staff is made up of two very friendly brewer-brothers and their wives – so, depending on the day and time of your visit,  you’ll find one or more of them pouring the beer, giving tours of the brewery, tending the tanks, sweeping up… each dedicated to the idea of providing an outstanding beer-drinking experience to their patrons. Bring your kids (games in the corner), bring your pups (large outdoor covered deck with tables) and bring your thirsty self.  Swamp Cabbage Logo.jpeg

Swamp Cabbage is the perfect place for your gatherings, like holiday parties. (our company is having a holiday drop-in this Sunday, December 4th from 3pm – 7pm… feel free to drop by with family and say hi! There will be a few specialty vendors offering unique gifts… Sip and Shop!)

Stay tuned for upcoming events, such as new releases, brewery brunches, and painting/ceramics parties and classes on their Facebook page. Click here.

921 Brookwood Drive, Columbia, SC 29201 |

Tasting Room Hours:

Wednesday: 5pm – 8pm
Thursday: 5pm – 8pm
Friday: 5pm – 9pm
Saturday: 12pm – 9pm
Sunday: 1pm – 6pm

BEEP BEEP BURP: Here Comes the Columbia Brew Bus!


The craft brewery business is booming in Columbia, and it didn’t take long for enterprising folks to capitalize on it.   Columbia Brew Bus follows in the footsteps of other brew bus services in the Southeast.  It’s a shuttle service that will take riders from brewery to brewery, allowing them to sample beers at each and learn about the process of making the brew at each stop. The bus will begin taking people on tours of River Rat Brewery, Conquest Brewery, and the newly opened Swamp Cabbage Brewery just as soon as they get their vehicle approved for use by SC DOT. Soon you’ll be able to enjoy a night out with friends and sample hand-crafted brews from each brewery as you learn how each facility makes their beer. The Brew Bus offers entertaining games and sightseeing as you travel from place to place, as well as a safe traveling option from brewery to brewery.   Here is some insider info from Cam Powell, one of three business partners behind the Columbia Brew Bus.

Columbia Brew Bus logo

Cool logo, eh? Love the beer tap on the back of the barrel!

What goes on at the breweries? How long will the tours of the breweries last? Will you be giving the tours, or will someone from each brewery be giving the tours?
Someone from each brewery will be taking our guests on the tours. Basically, each stop is going to be about an hour. When you get to each brewery, you’re going to spend the first 20 minutes or so tasting the beers while one of the brewery staff talks about the beers you’re tasting.  You’ll get about 24 ounces of beer at each stop. Depending on where we are, you’ll get a flight (4 or 5 small glasses of beer that are usually drunk in progression from light to dark) and a 10oz pour to take with you on the tour, or you’ll get a bigger flight and you can buy a pint if you want to take something with you. After the tasting, one of the brewers or one of the head bartenders will take you into the brewery itself and talk a little about the equipment and how they got started and what makes their beers unique. It’s a full-on facility tour. At the end, there will be 10-15 minutes where you can ask questions or buy some more beer, if you want to. We’ll have coolers on the bus to help keep your beer cold throughout the duration of the tour.

What sort of activities can your passengers expect once aboard the Brew Bus?

We’re going to have some snacks while in transit to make sure everyone has something in the stomach while we are going between these places. I’ve lived here for almost 7 years and Mike’s lived here his entire life, so we are going to pick up and drop off in the Vista and do a bit of sightseeing while we are on our way to each brewery. We are going to take you down by the State House and through the campus a little bit. For anybody who’s from out of town, you’ll get to see some of the major Columbia landmarks. While we’re riding along we’ll be playing some trivia games and things like that. Each tour will have a prize, like a nice big bottle of beer from one of the local breweries, or something else that a beer lover would like.

What days are you going to be offering the Brew Bus tours?

Starting out, it’s going to be Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Hopefully, there is a big enough market and we’ll be able to expand to different days. For the first few months, we are just going to do those three days.

Will you sell tickets online and what is the projected fare?
Our full website isn’t up and running yet, but when it is, it’s going to be We will sell tickets online. Right now we have the tours priced at $50. When you book online, there will be a 99 cent booking free through the company we use. If you were to book one tour, it will be $51. 

River Rat Brewery will be on the Brew Bus tour!

River Rat Brewery will be on the Brew Bus tour!

You mentioned you were going to three breweries (Conquest, River Rat, and Swamp Cabbage), as your destinations.  There are other brewers in town like Old Mill Brewpub and Hunter Gatherer.  Will you add places to your itinerary?

We will…  Being so close to when we’d like to open, we really had to narrow our focus and make sure we can achieve everything we want to. We didn’t want to do too many things and not come out to the public with a big impact.

There are a few tours like this around the coast of SC, but nothing like this here. How do you plan on drawing people into your tours here in Columbia?
We’ve contacted and worked a little bit with the Columbia Visitor Bureau and the Convention Center. Once our website is up and fully functional, they’ll be promoting that on their websites. Hopefully, we can get into some of their promotional materials. We want to get in with the hotels. We work with Theodore and Associates Insurance downtown and the guy who’s my agent used to be a hotel manager at Staybridge Suites over by Fort Jackson. He said that they have families coming in all the time there with the graduations at Fort Jackson and the military coming in. The first thing they say is “What’s there to do around here?” There are plenty of things to do here, but after you’ve been here a while, it turns into the same thing. We want to do something that’s outside of the mold.
The craft breweries are definitely breaking through and that’s something new to do here. Unless you want to shell out the money for a fare in between each place, or you want to have a designated driver, there is no safe way for everybody to get from brewery to brewery and be able to try craft beers at each one. It becomes a dilemma for a lot of people because sometimes you end up staying at these places longer than you planned to and you have to have the have the money for a cab or you have to find some other way home. For anybody going down to these craft breweries, this will eliminate any of that risk for them. 

Have you done anything else, like starting a business, or is this your first business?
No, it’s my first business. My friends and I in college started a weekly online magazine that we had published a couple times just for fun. We posted it around all over Facebook and twitter and got solid readership and did that for about a year. That’s something I helped create, but as far as owning something, this is the first thing.

Brew Bus passengers will be stopping by Conquest Brewing Company!

Brew Bus passengers will be stopping by Conquest Brewing Company!

What has been your biggest struggle with getting the Brew Bus up and running?

Insurance was our biggest hurdle until recently. Getting commercial insurance for this type of business isn’t easy. The big boss insurance companies don’t write these kinds of policies. You get redirected to the major national insurance people that do life insurance and other major policies. You can’t deal with them directly. They just write policies through brokers, so we’ve been going through brokers in town. They then go to their bosses and say that these guys are 24-25 years old and are going to be driving the bus with alcohol involved and their bosses won’t touch that. Getting someone to write a policy was our biggest struggle at the time. We got through that and have our insurance policy in place. The biggest, other than that, has been the legal aspect of it with the government licensing. The licensing for the bus has to go through three different departments plus the police have to check to make sure all the safety measures are on it. We’re still waiting on all that to get finished up, but hopefully it will be done soon.

What kind of modifications are you going to make to the bus you’re using?

Actually, to be legal to drive it, we had to take out 10 seats. It’s a 25 passenger bus, but to be able to drive it without a commercial drivers license, it can only hold 14 passengers plus the driver. The max tour group is going to be a 14 person tour group. We are going to drive it ourselves. The main accent color on the bus is probably going to be blue, and the logo and the name is going to be all along the side. We’re going to have the sponsored breweries’ logos on the side as well.

What is your ultimate goal once you start your tours? Where do you see all of this going in the next couple years?

Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company logo

The newly opened Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company will also be a stop on the Brew Bus route!

We definitely want to expand with it. After six months or so, if things are going well, we would like to put those extra seats back in and hire people with commercial driver licenses to conduct the tours so we can bump our tour maximum up to 20 people. Once we have our Brew Bus business model in hand and feel very comfortable with it, we are going to try to contract out our bus as a business shuttle for different hotels. We would take business people to and from the airport or if they have a large group at the hotel, we could take them out for the evening. Along the side of the bus we are going to have our regular logo but have the ability to put another sign on top of that so we can put a secondary logo for the shuttle service.

Personally speaking, if I can get paid the same amount doing this as I did at my previous job, while having fun and talking about beer to other people, that’d be great. I just want to promote beer tourism and help to enhance the craft beer scene in Columbia. Columbia has beers that are just as good, if not better, than beers being produced in other cities. There are people that travel to Asheville to try their beers, and there are people who travel to Atlanta to go to SweetWater to try their beers. I think Columbia could be like that (a beer-drinker’s destination) and I want to be a part of it.

For more information about the Columbia Brew Bus, click here for their facebook page.