2020 has been a whirlwind of closures, re-openings, restrictions and pivots that have left restaurants, bars and breweries scrambling to make ends meet and stay afloat.
During South Carolina's typically booming summer tourism season, revenue shrank to resemble that of two decades ago. The state's $24 billion industry, which feeds into arts and entertainment, food and beverage and nightlife, had already lost $4 billion when August arrived.
At times, the state’s restaurants experienced 80 percent drops when compared with 2019 sales. And while that decline huddles around 30 percent now, it's still far from ideal.
One way to help the local restaurants, bars and breweries you're supporting is to buy from them when checking off your holiday gift list. Here are 10 suggestions:
Holiday Beer Pass
This one's ideal for your drinking buddy. The downtown beer trolley has come to a halt during the pandemic, but in its place is a holiday beer pass that acts as a "beers around the world" affair. There are 1,500 passports, and the first 200 people to visit all 10 breweries in the Brewery District and get a corresponding stamp for each will get to attend a private 2021 beer festival.
The race began this week and lasts until New Year's Day. Passes are available for free pickup at participating breweries: Baker & Brewer, Brewlab, Cooper River Brewing Co., Edmund's Oast Brewing, Fatty's Beer Works, Lo-Fi, Munkle, Palmetto, Revelry and Tradesman.
More info: https://bit.ly/2VActxK
Sugar Bakeshop gingerbread house kits
These aren't your average gingerbread house box kits, though icing and candy decorations are still in store. Sugar Bakeshop has concocted a custom-made gingerbread house kit based on a traditional Charleston single house. Assembly instructions are included. The downtown bakery also offers Chanukah tins filled with dreidel and Star of David sugar cookies.
Price: $55 for gingerbread house kit
More info: sugarbake.com/christmas-2020
Firefly Distillery moonshine sampler pack
For your Southern friend who still hasn't tried unaged liquor, this sample pack from Firefly Distillery would make a lovely holiday gift. There's a trio of peach, apple pie and white lightning jars.
For an extra treat, you can pair the pack with a gift card to tour the distillery. Oh, and if moonshine isn't your beverage gift of choice, you can go for the distillery's small-batch bourbon, maybe along with a pair of rocks glasses, or sweet tea vodka with some accompanying tumblers.
Price: $25 for moonshine sample pack
More info: fireflydistillery.com
Callie's biscuit of the month club
Subscription boxes are a trendy gift this year, bringing monthly goodies to someone you love's doorstep. The local version of that might just be a biscuit of the month club signup at Callie's Hot Little Biscuit.
The subscription includes two dozen Callie's biscuits each month for three, six or twelve months, with alternating flavors each month. You can also customize those flavors by calling and making a request.
Price: $197.70 for 3 months
Coast Brewing Co. Hop Art print
For the beer and art lover, consider this print that depicts the colorful graphic from a favorite Coast Brewing can. The Hop Art print would pair well with a six-pack of Hop Art, of course.
Price: $20 for art print
AFFA locals card
When you donate $100 or more to the Alliance for Full Acceptance, which seeks LGBTQ+ equality and justice across the state, you will receive a 15 percent discount card in the mail that can be redeemed through 2021 at any of The Indigo Road hospitality group's restaurants in Charleston or Atlanta. That includes Mercantile + Mash, Bar Mash, Indaco, The Cocktail Club, The Macintosh, O-Ku and Oak Steakhouse.
More info: affa-sc.org/locals-card.
Revelry Brewing holiday gift package
Some breweries, like Revelry, are offering holiday gift packages that wrap up several merch items into one convenient, snaggable option. If there's a "Lazy Lover"-lover in your life, this gift grouping is a great buy. The package includes a tote bag, beach towel, bandana, patch, koozie, sticker, pin and $20 gift card.
Kwei Fei zine
While gift cards to local restaurants are almost always a great idea, an outside-of-the-box purchase might be a restaurant zine. Kwei Fei has its own printed "Strange Flavor" publication. "You’ve been asking for a cookbook. That feels a little mature for us, so we made a zine instead," reads the shop caption. Included are recipes from Kwei Fei and Micho, along with stories, playlists and a list of where the staff eats on days off.
Maybe pair the zine with a gift card.
Price: $9.95 for zine
Second State holiday blend coffee
'Tis the season for drinking caffeine. Oh wait, that's every season. For the coffee lover in your life, consider a holiday blend from a local shop like Second State. This particular variety offers tasting notes of honeycrisp apple, blueberry and chocolate. You can pair it with a $20 travel tumbler or $7 glass featuring the shop's owl logo.
Price: $15.95 for 12 oz. of holiday blend
Holy City 12-pack iceless cooler
For the boater who hates lugging a giant cooler onto the deck every outing, this gift found at Holy City is an ideal option. The Kanga iceless cooler holds two six-packs, enough to share with some of the crew for an afternoon ride. Plus, buying this piece of merch will get a loyalty discount of 10 percent off two six packs any time it's brought to the brewery.
More info: store.holycitybrewing.com