Palmetto Brewing Co. addresses possible relocation to Park Circle

(Provided)

Residents of Park Circle tonight will have the opportunity to hear what Palmetto Brewing Co. has planned for the Garco site if the beer maker ends up purchasing part of the North Charleston property.

Partner Larry Lipov stresses the company doesn’t yet have any conceptual drawings or other finalized construction details to share, but wanted to “do due diligence” after being invited to address the North East Park Circle Civic Club.

“It’s not necessarily my meeting,” Lipov says. “I’m going to answer some questions.”

Lipov says the envisioned brewery would be bigger than Palmetto’s current Huger Street facility, where the lease runs through 2018. While Lipov would have preferred to keep the company downtown, he calls real estate prices “prohibitive.”

“If I could have stayed, it would have been beautiful,” Lipov says. “But this is a cool area.”

Palmetto in 2014 announced it was moving; the brewery last year signed on to purchase 17 acres on Azalea Drive in partnership with Firefly Distilling. But as the Charleston Regional Business Journal reported, the companies abandoned the deal when they realized there wasn’t enough room to accommodate both of them.

Now Lipov is hoping to buy 5.83 acres of the 40-acre parcel that was once home to the General Asbestos and Rubber Company. The project would include a tasting room and restaurant, in addition to the brewhouse.

Gayle Frampton, president of the neighborhood association, expects a few dozen people at tonight’s meeting. While meetings typically draw at least 25-30 people – a figure that Frampton attributes to her reliance on mailed agendas instead of notices sent electronically –interest in this development is high.

“There’s always the element of somebody who is against, you know, any kind of alcohol beverage,” Frampton says. “I don’t know if we’ll have any of that because I think folks are more open-minded; I’m open-minded about it.”

Frampton says community members wouldn’t cotton to rowdy drinkers, but she doesn’t foresee Palmetto losing control of its guests.

“People are usually very polite and mindful of their behavior, so I think people could just get together and have a good time,” she says. “This brewery is not going to push alcohol on anybody: They’re simply there to make a recipe they like.”

Because Palmetto has not yet closed on the property, there is no timeline for construction.

The meeting at the Felix C. Davis Community Center, 4800 Park Circle, begins at 6:30 p.m. Frampton doesn’t intend for it to last longer than an hour.

“I try not to drag it on and on,” Frampton says. “That’s why we do not let people come and tell about their product or service that they have or whatever: That’s not what we’re about. We’re about things that help our community.”