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Livy Conner instructs painting students at Bottles N' Brushes in Mount Pleasant. Beer and wine was served during the class.

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Meet “paint-and-sip”

For as long as there have been frustrated artists, there have been people standing before canvases with a bottle in one hand and a paintbrush in the other. But paint-and-sip isn’t quite so unruly: Studios specializing in the format offer group painting classes to customers who are encouraged to bring or buy wine, depending on local liquor laws.

Learn the backstory

A precursor to the adult coloring book trend, paint-and-sip emerged as a popular franchise concept about a decade ago: Louisianans Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney in 2007 launched Painting With a Twist (then called Corks and Canvas) as a way to promote relaxation in a region beset with Hurricane Katrina-related stresses. The step-by-step classes were designed so every participant would leave with a passable piece of art, but wine was poured so nobody would get too worked up if he or she didn’t.

Actually, the clientele was almost exclusively female: According to Entrepreneur, the vast majority of paint-and-sippers are women, which is why the model is often likened to yoga studios, except without the perceived pressure to look a certain way. Industry experts say paint-and-sip’s emphasis on instant gratification and risk-free creativity bode well for its continued success.

Today there are more than 1,000 paint-and-sip venues across the country, with all of the major franchise chains headquartered in the South. In addition to Painting With a Twist, the players include Houston’s Pinot’s Palette and Raleigh’s Wine & Design.

And try it here

The Charleston Wine + Food Festival created a paint-and-sip station when it overhauled its Culinary Village a few years back, and The Glass Onion last month hosted a paint-and-sip evening. Permanent studios include Bottles ‘n Brushes in Summerville; Wine & Design, with multiple area locations; downtown’s Paint This Town and Fear No Easel in Mount Pleasant. Additionally, Pinot’s Palette is opening a studio in North Charleston.

— Hanna Raskin

Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.

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