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6 Favorite Distilleries in Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is among the most populated cities in the United States, and it has a charm that keeps attracting year in and year out. The city is undoubtedly a worthy tourist destination, with magnificent streets and eye-catching architecture. Most people need to realize that Charleston also has a booming distillery industry that produces excellent beverages. Here are some of the top distilleries in Charleston, SC, that you must stop by as a spirit lover.

1. Charleston Distilling Co. 

With its gorgeous outdoor and indoor spaces for tastings, Charleston Distilling is a family-owned distillery that began operation in 2013. At first, the distillery was headquartered in downtown Charleston on King Street, but they relocated to Johns Island, into a larger space measuring 10,000 square feet, at the end of 2019.

The distillery produces various drinks, including the Carolina Reaper Pepper Vodka, which pays homage to the infamous local Carolina peppers. They also have the Tolerance Liqueur, made using a whiskey base distilled with ginger and cinnamon. Other spirits include:

  • Jaspers Gin
  • Vesey’s Bourbon
  • Crosstown Straight Rye
  • East Bay Rum
  • Bourbon Cream Liqueur

The distillery hosts some food trucks on-site if you want food while enjoying the cocktails.

Location: 3548 Meeks Farm Road, Johns Island, SC

2. High Wire Distilling 

Founded by a husband and wife after they sold their bakery, High Wire Distilling ranks as the first distillery to set up shop in Charleston since the days of prohibition. In early 2020, the owners wanted a larger space, so they moved the distillery a few blocks away to a building five times larger than their previous location. 

After moving, High Wire upgraded its equipment and fully repurposed its older fermenting tanks and pots to increase production. While touring the facility, their guide will explain how they designed and put together their custom still to ensure it produces premium products.

High Wire makes plenty of spirits that include:

  • Southern Amaro liqueur 
  • Hometown Vodka
  • New Southern Revival Brand Rye Whiskey
  • Hat Trick Extraordinarily Fine Botanical Gin
  • Jimmy Red Straight Bourbon Whiskey 

The distillery offers tours of the facility on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Location: 311 Huger Street, Charleston, SC 29403

3. Striped Pig Distillery 

The name Striped Pig has a unique origin. During prohibition, it was getting increasingly challenging to find even a sip of alcohol. To survive, distillers erected tents and charged people to see the “oddity” of striped pigs when they were selling booze. From that story, the founders decided to call it Striped Pig Distillery. To cut through their competition, Striped Pig has adopted interesting methods of operation. They make signature spirits and work with celebrities who want their product. 

In addition, this SC distillery produces and bottles beverages for a few smaller distillers. So, you will have a wonderful time during the tasting, for they have many products, like:

  • Bourbon
  • Gin
  • Organic Vodka
  • Rum
  • Spiced Flavored Rum

Location: 225 A Old School Drive, Charleston, SC 29405

4. Firefly Distillery 

Perhaps one of the most famous distilleries in Charleston, Firefly owes a considerable part of that popularity to its Sweet Tea Vodka, a drink that’s loved all over the globe. The company has increased its catalog and now makes numerous spirits, most of which are in the vodka category.

These include:

  • Southern Lemonade Vodka
  • Ruby Red Vodka
  • Skinny Tea Vodka
  • Strawberry Moonshine
  • Caramel Moonshine
  • Sweat Tea Whiskey
  • Bourbon Ball
  • Silver Rum
  • Island Java Rum

Unlike most distilleries, Firefly offers self-guided tours, after which you can taste their exquisite spirits.

Location: 4201 Spruill Avenue, North Charleston, SC 29405

5. Nippitaty Distillery 

After years of working in Human Resources, Traxler Littlejohn wanted to venture into a new industry, so he founded the first Charleston organic distillery in 2017. He then named it Nippitaty Distillery. The name Nippitaty translates to “strong and good liquor, ” which the company produces. They primarily focus on organic gin and vodka. However, Traxler says that they are working to increase their product catalog to include different types of spirits.

In addition, Trexler recently received funding to renovate an ancient 1950s service station that has exposed timber beams and cathedral ceilings. The distillery is open for tours from Wednesday to Thursday, 3 to 7 pm, and Saturday, 11 am to 10 pm. You can book a slot on the company’s website.

Location: 4405 Spruil Ave, North Charleston, SC 29405 

6. Beyond Distilling Company

Kerian, Ryan, and Tyler had previously worked in different industries. Kerian helped people with disabilities. Tyler was in the culinary field and an electrician. The three wanted to make spirits that were true to nature and would leave all their customers wanting more. They founded Beyond Distilling Company and set up the facility on Rich Street. When you visit the distillery, you will notice that it is specifically designed to provide a wholesome environment for tasting and viewing the production process.

Also, Beyond Distilling aims to offer more than the customary distillery tours and tastings. Hence, they grow various botanicals in their garden and use these in mixology classes to show visitors how they produce spirits.

Some of the company products are:

  • Bourbon Whiskey
  • Coconut Rum
  • Tropical Gin

Location: 2157 Rich Street, Unit 203, North Charleston, SC 29405

Other things to do in Charleston, South Carolina

After touring all the distilleries in Charleston, SC, featured on this list and enjoying their spirits, you may want to experience other attractions in the city. Below, we look at some you should check out during your visit.

International African American Museum

Taking at least twenty years of planning and costing $100 million in construction, the International African American Museum showcases Charleston’s role in the slave trade. The museum is strategically located at Gadsen’s Wharf, the entry point for over 40% of Africans sold as workers in auctions at the start of 1783. History experts believe that 80% of all African Americans can trace a few of their ancestors to Charleston.

At the museum, you will get an in-depth outline of Africans’ journey starting from 1700. Exhibitions in each of its nine galleries tell stories of the appalling brutality meted out to the workers, from a local to an international level. It also has a Family History Center that explains the origin of the African Americans.

Location: 14 Wharfside St, Charleston, SC 29401

Waterfront Park 

Here, you can assemble with the locals and enjoy stunning views of Charleston Harbor. The Waterfront Park has water fountains, double swings, and old-fashioned benches where you can sit and look at the sailboats or larger ships on the move.

Some of the water fountains, like the famous Pineapple Fountain, light at night, and it has flower gardens that give it different splashes of color. Also, the park is close to the city’s historic sights and market, which makes it easy to access.

Location: 1 Vendue, Charleston, South Carolina

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens 

In addition to visiting distilleries in Charleston, SC, you’ll want to explore Magnolia Plantation & Gardens. Even if you aren’t a garden lover, you will be captivated by the exquisite elegance of the Magnolia Plantation & Gardens. These are some of America’s oldest public parks that started hosting visitors in 1870, but some parts go back a few centuries.

Nurtured by different generations of one family, Magnolia gardens have constantly gained popularity in and outside the country. On arrival, the guide will give you a tour of the founder’s house and Antebellum cabin. If you feel up for it, there are boat tours and exhibitions, and children can head to the petting zoo.

Location: Charleston, SC 29414

Old City Market

One of the popular activities for tourists in Charleston is walking through the vast old market building, a notable landmark in the historic district. Colorful and lively, it’s an ideal place for souvenir shopping or to observe the locals conducting business. Vendors sell traditional foods and the infamous sweet grass baskets at the market. You can even watch the Gullah artisans sitting in open-air sheds weave the baskets skillfully. 

These baskets are among the nation’s most prized crafts. The techniques the artisans use to make the baskets are from West Africa. Built following the Greek Revival style in 1841, the massive red sandstone structure with sheds and ironwork trim has earned it a slot in the National Register of Historic Places.

Location: 188 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401

South Carolina Aquarium

Even though it’s an Aquarium, it is not only home to underwater animals; you will also find plenty of birds, reptiles, plants, and land mammals at this attraction. The guides at South Carolina Aquarium put a lot of emphasis on participation. So apart from the massive 385,000-gallon tank, where you can watch interactive shows, the site also has Shark Shallows, which allow you to touch rays and sharks.

In addition, there is a specially designed touch tank containing starfish and many other sea creatures. If you would like to have a feel of animal care, you can tour the facility’s Seat Turtle Hospital—the only hospital in South Carolina for sick and injured sea turtles. While at the aquarium, you will meet Carreta, a beloved sea turtle weighing 220 pounds that lives in the “ Great Ocean Tank.”

Location: 100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston, SC 29401

Ravenel Bridge

Immediately after completion in 2005, the Ravenel Jr. Bridge that spreads across Copper River and connects Mount Pleasant to Charleston became a notable landmark. It has a sleek cable design that gives it a classy look, and it can withstand strong winds that go over 300 miles an hour and even a 7.2-scale earthquake. Plus, the bridge can prevent ships from colliding.

Apart from its well-set traffic lanes, the bridge has a shared pedestrian bicycle path called Wonders Way. Biking or walking across Wonders Way is a favorite activity among locals and tourists, as you enjoy sweeping views of major Charleston sections.

Location: Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge, Charleston, SC 29403

The Charleston Museum 

Also called “America’s First Museum,” Charleston Museum started in 1773 under the management of the Charleston Library Society. It has a vast collection of artifacts arranged in its exhibition rooms. For instance, you will see some ancient slave badges and tools farmers used in rice planting. The exhibit areas at the museum illustrate life during the First Revolution, Charleston’s participation in the Civil War, and early weaponry. 

In the gallery section, you will find rare collections of 19th-century travelers; these include an Egyptian case and mummy Roman and Greek antiquities. A few steps ahead, you’ll come across the Lobelian Gallery, which showcases southern-style silver from the Victorian era. It’s here that you will find George Washington’s Cup. The Textiles Gallery has examples of historical costumes, textiles, and needlework. You will also learn a lot about the different ancient fabric-making styles.

Location: 360 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403

Drayton Hall 

Drayton Hall is among the oldest remaining unrestored plantation buildings in America that’s publicly accessible. Like other plantations, Drayton Hall provides house tours. However, the house is unique; the floors, fireplaces, and walls are undisturbed, so you get a rare look into the past. In addition, some of its interiors go back 300 years, and it still has personal touches like a kid’s growth chart and ornamental designs.

Drayton Hall also played a significant role during the slavery era. It has an African-American cemetery that has been around since 1790 and still functions. Some guides will walk you through the graveyard while explaining the history.

Location: 3380 Ashley River Rd, Charleston, SC 29414

FAQ About Distilleries in Charleston, SC

How many distilleries are in Charleston, SC?

There are at least 15 distilleries in Charleston, SC, but the number will increase over the next few years.

Can you consume alcohol in public in Charleston, SC?

According to municipal regulations, it’s a crime to take any spirit, wine, beer, or alcoholic drink on sidewalks, alleys, streets, or any public ways in the city. If you violate the law, you will get a ticket.

Can you bring pets to distillery tours in Charleston?

Some distilleries in Charleston, SC, welcome visitors with pets, and some have a strict no-pet policy. You should check a company’s website before booking a tour. Preferably, you can call and inquire.

What made Charleston wealthy?

The city grew wealthy from the exportation of sea island cotton and rice. It was also a home base for most landowners, merchants, and people of influence.

Charleston has plenty of distilleries that produce superb, high-quality products and numerous attractions sure to give you a worthwhile experience. If you stop by the city, make sure to visit all of them. At Distillery Nearby, you will find lots of information about distillery tours, making cocktails, exciting facts about your cherished beverages, and more. Check out our website today.

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