Grapevine: Charleston Bridge Run runners, walkers chew up scenery, data

Selfies were a big part of the 2015 Cooper River Bridge Run.

There must have been a lot of selfies shared on social media during the 38th annual Cooper River Bridge Run.

Verizon Wireless reported 15 million “data sessions” during the March 28 10-kilometer event from the cell towers that serve the Mount Pleasant-to-Charleston race route — a 55 percent increase over normal Saturday usage for those towers.

“A data session is any time a device connects to our ... network to check email, access the Internet, download or upload files, stream entertainment, save or send photos or connect to social media sites,” Verizon spokeswoman Karen Schulz said.

Taking a selfie or other photo-graph in and of itself doesn’t access the data network, she added, but “sending that photograph, saving that photograph to the cloud, sharing that photograph via social media channels or texting that photo would access the data network.”

The wireless company also reported 250,000 phone calls were placed or received over those towers during the event — double the usual number.

In addition to its normal service, Verizon streamed live video from cameras placed along the route so race officials, the city of Charleston and the town of Mount Pleasant could monitor all activity before, during and after the race from a secure command center.

In addition to the behind-the-scenes planning Verizon did with race organizers, the company said it also boosted the amount of bandwidth available in the Charleston area, tripling the network capacity for race participants and spectators to call, text and connect.

Organizers said last week 27,412 runners and walkers participated in the bridge run this year, making it the third-largest 10K in the nation. It also drew thousands of spectators.

American Airlines is taking it up a notch at Charleston International. Local business-class customers aiming to get to Miami or Dallas will soon have a larger-jet option from the carrier.

Starting May 8, Texas-based American will upgrade to 80-seat jets with first-class cabin availability not available on the current 50-seaters, airport spokeswoman Charlene Gunnells said.

American is combining its operations this year with US Airways, the last step in the 2013 merger of their parent companies. Both carriers opened new ticket counters at CHS last week.

A North Charleston-based company that purifies liquor using an accelerated aging process is raising its glass. Terressentia is ready to move ahead with its new whiskey-making operation in an old distillery in Kentucky. A 25-acre site in Owensboro on the Ohio River will churn out 30,000 barrels of whiskey a year, predominantly bourbon, after the company secured $20 million from investors to convert the Bluegrass State building into a liquor-making operation, CEO Earl Hewlette said.

“We expect to be in production by August 2016,” he said.

Terressentia bought the old Charles Medley distillery last May in a spin-off firm called TerrePure.

The company, which makes liquor quicker, creates spirits for retailers by purifying distilled alcohol in just a few hours, eliminating oak-barrel aging for certain liquors. Terressentia said the process provides a smoother taste and less-pungent smell to the finished potable.

The company also has another reason to say cheers

At the recent San Francisco World Spirits Competition, which drew 1,500 entries, Terressentia walked away with seven awards, six of them for its own brands. Its haul included two double golds for its Southern Shine Apple Moonshine and for a client’s Sin Ultra Premium Vodka. It picked up a gold medal for its Darby’s Rye Whiskey. The four silvers were for Winchester Rye Whiskey, Copper Pony Rye Whiskey, Southern Shine Blueberry Moonshine and Hayes Parker Cherry Bourbon. All of them are made and bottled locally and can be found at Total Wine in West Ashley, says Hewlette.

Since its founding in 2007, the spirits-maker has garnered more than 80 medals in different competitions.