MOUNT PLEASANT -- For good luck, some new businesses toss silver coins into the cement mixture when the foundations are poured.
Not Edward Westbrook. He tossed malted barley and hops into his.
The 25-year-old entrepreneur is building a new microbrewery off Long Point Road near the Mark Clark Expressway.
"Hopefully, it will bring some extra luck," Westbrook said.
Looking to open by mid-September, the 18,500-square-foot, two-story Westbrook Brewing Co. will be the first for Mount Pleasant.
It's being built with a circular bar in a huge lobby that Westbrook hopes will serve as a beer-tasting area if lawmakers approve a bill allowing samplings at breweries. The legislation passed the House and awaits Senate approval.
"We are very close," said South Carolina Brewer's Association President Jaime Tenny of Coast Brewing Co. in North Charleston. "I would give it a very favorable report."
Westbrook started brewing his own beer as a senior at Furman University, a dry campus, and continued the practice while earning his master's in business administration at Clemson.
"I love brewing beer," he said. "Charleston could use another good brewery. That's why I decided to get started in the business."
Westbrook, with the aid of his father, attorney Ed Westbrook, started planning the $2.1 million venture last summer. They cleared the land on the 1-acre site at 301 Ridge Road in April and poured the foundations at 4 a.m. one day earlier this month.
"I sprinkled the malted barley and hops in the (cement) as it was being poured," Westbrook said.
RC Building Co. of Mount Pleasant is constructing the brewery, a first for the company.
RC President Coty Cuttino said the brewing vessels will be delivered from China in July and that it will take about two months to set them up and connect all the pipes.
"We looked at a similar brewery in Spartanburg," Cuttino said. "We will use them for plumbing experts."
Cuttino called it an interesting project because all of the structural steel is galvanized to help with the humidity inside the building because of the brewing process.
The building itself costs about $1.75 million, according to Cuttino. The equipment is an additional $350,000, Westbrook said.
In its effort to be environmentally friendly, the brewery will heat water with solar power, recycle rainwater runoff for irrigation, use high-efficiency lights and feature a 30-foot diameter fan to circulate air.
The brewery will start with draft beers from kegs and then move into bottles and cans as production needs increase.
"We will start out with three or four year-round beers, a seasonal collection and some experimental beers," Westbrook said. "We will have every color in the spectrum of beer, from pale to black as night."
Westbrook's target market will first be bars that carry good craft beers in South Carolina and eventually move into neighboring states and Tennessee.
"We want to concentrate on getting into new places that haven't discovered the benefits of carrying a new beer," he said. "My favorite thing about being a brewer is getting people to try my beer and notice their reaction."
Westbrook is not the first microbrewery in metro Charleston. Palmetto Brewing Co. on peninsular Charleston started in 1994, and Coast Brewing Co. on the former Charleston Naval Base started in 2007. There are several brew pubs in the area as well.
Westbrook, who still brews beer on his back porch at his Mount Pleasant home, added that a lot of effort has gone into the brewery.
"We are ready to brew beer as soon as possible," he said. "There are a lot of thirsty people out there."