Food Lover Events: December 7 – 21

First Thursdays on Main

Thursday December 7 | Main Street in Downtown Columbia

Downtown’s restaurants are all-in this Thursday, making this First Thursday a really special one… including the Grand Opening of The Grand, Columbia’s first boutique bowling alley, bar and restaurant! Enjoy:

  • Sixpoint Brewery’s Tap Takeover at The Whig
  • Persona Pizza’s $5.99 pizzas and $3 pints
  • 3-course dinner for $35 at The Oak Table
  • Cantina 76’s half-priced margaritas
  • Live music and happy hour specials at Michael’s Cafe and Catering (4-7)

More here.

Themed Trivia at Liberty Tap Room

“Friends” Trivia | Thursday, December 7 | 828 Gervais St.

lpJoin Liberty Tap Room in the Vista on Thursdays for Themed Trivia! Enjoy $8 pizzas all night from 5-10pm, and $4 for most pints on tap. You can also come in early for some great happy hour specials, from 4-7pm. Upcoming trivia dates include Game of Thrones Trivia on Dec. 14 and Tacky Sweater & Christmas Trivia on Dec. 21. More here.

Firkin Friday and Trivia Night | Swamp Cabbage Brewing Co.

Friday, December 8 | 6 – 9pm | 921 Brookwood Dr.

scffEvery Friday is Firkin Friday at Swamp Cabbage! You never know what the Head Brewer, Doug, has in store for the new Firkin cask flavor, but for $3 a pint it’s worth a try! Fridays at Swamp Cabbage are also for trivia! Invite your friends and family and form your teams; prizes awarded for first and second place winners. More here.

Melodies on Murray | A Winter Wonderland Cruise

Friday, December 8 | Tickets: $69/person

solmMelodies on Murray combines several of Lake Murray’s favorite things; sailing the beautiful waters on Lake Murray’s Only Touring Yacht, live music, great food & lasting memories! During the holiday season, the Spirit of Lake Murray is an excellent way to spend time with friends and family. The Spirit is gorgeously decorated for the season and provides a fully heated dining experience as you sail comfortably on the beautiful waters Lake Murray. Melodies on Murray will feature live jazz with Mr. Ken Cheeks, a fabulous dinner menu and cash bar. Tickets here.

River Rat Brewery Annual Oyster Roast and BBQ

Friday, December 8 | 1231 Shop Road

Plate of oystersJoin River Rat Brewery as they steam fresh, Carolina select oysters and enjoy awesome smoked pork BBQ with sides all evening! Your $45 ticket will include admission to this private event, and you will receive three beer tickets, oysters, BBQ, baked beans, slaw, shuckers and gloves. All you need to bring is your appetite! This event will sell out quickly so get your tickets now! More here.

Beer and Chocolate Pairing | Swamp Cabbage Brewing

Friday, December 8 | 6 – 8PM | 921 Brookwood Dr.

michal-grosicki-239853Evolution through Chocolate and Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company once again bring you this delicious pairing, with a twist! With the holidays swiftly approaching, they are highlighting some of the flavors of the season: Enjoy Butterscotch Truffle with the Oxbow Amber, Eggnog Truffle with the Dunkelweizen, S’mores Truffle with the Bruce’s Brown and Candy Cane Truffle with the Chocolate Brown! Seating is limited. RSVP to 803-939-2589 or send them a FB message for reservations. More here.

Mondays at Tombo Grille

Monday, December 11 | 4517 Forest Dr, Ste 6 | 803-782-9665

tom1Monday nights at Tombo are for burgers, beer and live music! On Mondays, just $9 gets you one of Tombo’s amazing house ground C.A.B. burgers, fries and a beer. Plus, enjoy local live music: playing Dec. 11 is the Randy Lucas Band. Don’t miss out on this fun weekly tradition at Tombo! Reservations are recommended, call  803-772-9665 or go to open table here.

Selfies with Santa | East Bay Deli West Columbia

Wednesday, December 13 | 108 Sunset Court

srikanta-h-u-51975 (1)Bring the whole family for a meet & greet with Santa during East Bay Deli’s ‘Selfies with Santa’ event! Take your own photos at this FREE event, for priceless memories with Santa. Don’t forget, every Wednesday is KIDS NIGHT, when kids 10 and under eat FREE (one free kids meal per one adult meal)! More here.

Themed Trivia at Liberty Tap Room

“Game of Thrones” Trivia | Thursday, December 14 | 828 Gervais St.

henry-hustava-81799Join Liberty Tap Room in the Vista on Thursdays for Themed Trivia! Enjoy $8 pizzas all night from 5-10pm, and $4 for most pints on tap. You can also come in early for some great happy hour specials, from 4-7pm. Upcoming trivia: Tacky Sweater & Christmas Trivia on Dec. 21. More here.

Breakfast with Santa | Historic Columbia

Saturday, December 16 | 1616 Blanding Street

Join Historic Columbia for a holiday treat! Enjoy a continental breakfast in the Robert Mills Carriage House while listening to seasonal music. After your meal, view the decorated halls of the Hampton-Preston Mansion, see a Victorian Christmas tree, make a holiday craft to take home, and get a photo with Victorian Santa Claus! Tickets here.

 

Themed Trivia at Liberty Tap Room

Tacky Sweater & Christmas Trivia Night | Thursday, December 21 | 828 Gervais St.

Two sweaters on a tableJoin Liberty Tap Room in the Vista on Thursdays for Themed Trivia! Enjoy $8 pizzas all night from 5-10pm, and $4 for most pints on tap. You can also come in early for some great happy hour specials, from 4-7pm. More here.

Stay Tuned… we’ll bring you new food and drink events again on Dec. 19th!

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!

Coming Soon

Columbia Craft Brewing Company

Doors opening Thursday, November 30 | 520 Greene Street | 803-799-6027

frank-luca-71973This exciting new Microbrewery and Taproom opens Nov. 30! CCBC will have a tasting room equipped with 12 taps of Columbia Craft Beer that you can enjoy inside or out on their patio. Flagship brews include a Famously Hop IPA, Columbia Craft Lager, Columbia Craft Red Ale and Pulaski Porter. Rotating Taps include Hop To Trot, Citrus All Pro, and Sour Line Up, with other offerings to be announced. More here.

New Brew: Merry Cinnamas | Swamp Cabbage Brewing Co.

scmcSwamp Cabbage’s Merry Cinnamas Spiced Amber Ale is the brewery’s Amber Ale,  fermented a little longer than normal to achieve a Sour characteristic balanced with the sweetness and spice from cinnamon added. A wonderful Christmas Ale that doesn’t last long! More here.

Food Lover Events: November / December

Tombo Grille

4517 Forest Drive | 803-782-9665

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Tombo Special: Cast iron-seared Striped Bass over fingerling potato and grilled corn hash

Looking for someplace special, but not fussy, for your next date night? At Tombo Grille, every Thursday is date night, where you can enjoy a 3-course dinner for two for just $49, plus $10 off any full bottle of wine! Dinner selections include a varied menu of tried and true favorites, like Shrimp and Grits, Grilled Meatloaf, and Braised Pork Shank, along with unique dishes, like their popular Lobster Pot Pie and Roasted Hen with Sweet Potato Gnocchi. You can’t go wrong with Tombo’s famous burger – a house ground, C.A.B. patty that features house bacon, grilled onion, smoked tomato aioli, and cheddar, gorgonzola, or smoked gouda, and Tombo’s daily changing specials give you even more delicious options! Reservations recommended. Call them, or reserve a table through their website.

Thanksgiving Farmers Market | City Roots 

Tuesday, November 21 | 1005 Airport Blvd.

brigitte-tohm-406942Stock up on SC Grown products to create a memorable feast with your family and friends this Thanksgiving! Come out to this special City Roots Farmers Market and enjoy a variety of farmers and vendors selling their signature SC-Grown items, along with craft beer and wine available for purchase from Craft And Draft, and live music by Bentz Kirby! Vendors include Mary’s Arepas, The Shrimp Guy, Wil-Moore Farms, Happy Cow Creamery, The Congaree Milling Company, Curiosity Coffee Bar and more! More here.

52nd Annual Chitlin Strut

Saturday, November 25 | 230 Pine St. NW, Salley, SC

The Chitlin Strut will include a Parade, variety of Food Vendors, Arts and Craft Vendors, Carnival, Entertainment, Souvenir Shop, Hog Calling Contest, Strut Dance Contest, Beauty Pageant, and lots and lots of Chitlins, boiled and fried! More here.

Country Christmas Celebration | SC State Farmers Market 

Sunday, November 26 | 1 – 5pm | 3483 Charleston Hwy.

Head out to the South Carolina State Farmers Market for the Country Christmas Celebration! Event will feature a Tractor Parade at 4pm, Christmas Trees, Christmas crafts, photos with Santa, and lots of Christmas treat vendors! More here.

Brunch At The Brewery | Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company

Sunday, November 26 | 11:30am – 1pm | 921 Brookwood Drive
batbEnjoy a 5-course gourmet meal prepared by Chef Jean-Louis and Yvette. The amazing menu will feature Purple Potato Waffle, Crab Cake, Fried Egg Julienne, White Chili With Warm Corn Salsa, Creamy Mac And Cheese, Poached Salmon, Pork Filet Medallions, and more, with vegetarian options as well. Beer pairing is available for $10/person. Reservations Required by Friday, November 24. This will be the last Brunch At The Brewery for the year, so don’t miss it! Tickets here.

Wednesday Wines, Paint and Sip | Gervais & Vine

Wednesday, November 29 | 620-A Gervais St. | Bar opens 4pm, Kitchen opens 5pm

Join your favorite Mediterranean wine and tapas restaurant for Wednesday Wine Tastings, where you’ll enjoy live music, and can try four wines and a small cheese plate for only $10! Then, on Wednesday, Nov. 29, join G&V for a fun Paint and Sip event at the restaurant! Indulge your inner artist while enjoying delicious wines. For more information, call them at 803-799-8463.

Wacky Balloon Twisting! | East Bay Deli West Columbia

Wednesday, November 29 | 108 Sunset Court

ebdKid’s Night occurs every Wednesday! On Nov. 29, join East Bay Deli West Columbia for Wacky Balloon Twisting Night with Emeralds Artistry! From 4-9PM, kids eat for FREE (limitations apply), and from 6-8PM kids can indulge in balloon twisting fun! The creative folks at Emerald’s Artistry can make balloon animals, balloon wings, hats and more that your little one will love! More here.

Beer and Jerky Pairing | Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company

Wednesday, November 29 | 6 – 8PM | 921 Brookwood Drive

bjSwamp Cabbage and Two Brothers Jerky are joining together once again for another unforgettable pairing! For only $16, you can get a flight of beer with a “flight” of jerky. This time a new jerky flavor made with a Swamp Cabbage brew will be introduced, and there will be a discount on bags of delicious, handmade, grass-fed Two Brothers Jerky. For reservations, please message Swamp Cabbage via Facebook here.

SC Pedal Parlor

Downtown Columbia | 803-302-7750

scpplogoThis season, give the gift of Pedal Parlor! Columbia’s favorite gigantic party bike company, the SC Pedal Parlor, is offering the perfect holiday gift for all of the fun-loving people in your life. Gift cards can be used at any time for any event, and they never expire! You can easily buy gift cards online – just go here, click Book Online, and purchase your choice of Single Seat Gift Certificates or Private Party Gift Certificates. When you buy, you will be emailed a confirmation code that can be used online when booking in the future.

 

Themed Trivia at Liberty Tap Room & Grill | Vista

lpThursday, November 30 | 828 Gervais St.
Visit Liberty every Thursday for trivia! This week’s theme is Hip Hop Trivia. Enjoy $8 pizzas all night from 5-10pm and $3 for most pints on tap. You can also come in early for some great happy hour specials, from 4-7pm. December 7 will be “Friends” Trivia, and on December 14 Game of Thrones Trivia. More here. 

 A Starry Night | Five Points

Friday, December 1 | 4 – 8pm

unnamed (2)Five Points celebrates the season at the annual holiday event, A Starry Night! Stroll through all of your favorite Five Points stores to enjoy sales and specials during a night full of holiday cheer. The Gourmet Shop will hold a Champagne Bash with sushi, caviar, cheeses, meats, and more (tickets required), and Pawleys Front Porch will be offering  signature cocktails including The Rudolph, The Clark Griswold, The Yukon Cornelius, and The Cousin Eddie, along with $2 Miller Lite drafts and hot spiked apple cider! You’ll enjoy complimentary hot chocolate and cider, a DJ spinning holiday tunes, face painting, roaming choral and dance performances, merchant sales & specials, and a chance to visit with Santa! More here.

Tea & Chocolate Pairing

Friday, December 1 | The Market Tea Room and Country Store, 322 Little Brooke Ln.

This fun, holiday-themed event will feature delicious pairings such as Hot Toddy Tea with a Sugar Plum Truffle, Christmas Blend Black Tea with an Eggnog Truffle
Gingerbread Tea with a Gingerbread Truffle, and Candy Cane Tea with a Candy Cane Truffle! Teas and chocolate are available for purchase after the event – just in time for those holiday parties. More here.

St. Nicholas Festival

Saturday, December 2 | Holy Apostles Orthodox Church, 724 Buff St., West Columbia

Visit with St. Nicholas, enjoy Russian food at the Russian Cafe, shop beautiful arts and crafts, and see choral performances during the annual St. Nicholas Festival! This annual offering from Holy Apostles Orthodox Church invites you to explore the history of the REAL St. Nicholas while enjoying a holiday craft fair, homemade cookies, authentic Russian and Ethiopian food, children’s activities, and more. Explore the Orthodox Christian book store and Myra Coffee Shop, offering home-roasted craft coffee, whole beans, jams and jellies, homemade soups, and more. A concert of ancient hymns will be performed by the choir at 11am and 1pm, a troop of Irish dancers will perform at 2pm, and at Noon enjoy the magic and humor of Sarah Dippity before meeting St. Nicholas! Free admission. More here.

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Sustainable Holiday Market

Monday, December 4 | 701 Whaley Street
Need holiday gifts for everyone on your list? Make plans to attend the 10th Anniversary Sustainable Holiday Celebration! The Sustainable Holiday Celebration is a party like no other, and encourages our community to think locally while they shop for their loved ones. Shop from over 60 local unique artisans and sample signature dishes from local favorites Old Mill Brew Pub, Michael’s on Main, Kaminsky’s, Lowe’s Foods and the SC Farmer’s Market Tea Room. Tickets are only $5! More here.

December Harvest Dinner | City Roots Farm

Monday, December 4 | 6:30 – 9:30pm | 1005 Airport Blvd.
Enjoy a harvest feast at City Roots farm! Executive Chef Frank Bradley from Bourbon and F2T Productions Chef Liaison will prepare a family style, four-course farm to table dinner featuring seasonal ingredients from local farmers and artisans. A welcome cocktail will be served by Bourbon on Main Street and wine pairings are by Advintage.
Tickets here.

Hops & Harvest Beer Dinner | Old Mill Brewpub

Tuesday, December 5 | 7pm | $40 per person | 711 E Main St, Lexington

Five beers and four courses! Delicious offerings include Pate de Campagne, Low Country Eggroll, Mussels & Duck Fat Frites and more! Seasonal IPAs and Ales to be determined! Get your tickets here.

Melodies on Murray | A Winter Wonderland Cruise

Friday, December 8 | Tickets: $69/person

solmMelodies on Murray combines several of Lake Murray’s favorite things; sailing the beautiful waters on Lake Murray’s Only Touring Yacht, live music, great food & lasting memories! During the holiday season, the Spirit of Lake Murray is an excellent way to spend time with friends and family. The Spirit is gorgeously decorated for the season and provides a fully heated dining experience as you sail comfortably on the beautiful waters Lake Murray. Melodies on Murray will feature live jazz with Mr. Ken Cheeks, a fabulous dinner menu and cash bar. Tickets here.

Stay Tuned… we’ll bring you new food and drink events again on Dec. 5th!

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!

Under The Foam: Craft and Draft

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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

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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 | Swampcabbagebrewing.com

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!

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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 columbiabrewbus.com. 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.