By MINDY LUCAS
A popular Lowcountry brewery is expanding its business in Beaufort County.
Salt Marsh Brewing, currently based in Old Town, Bluffton, will open a second location at 1111 11th Street, in Port Royal.
The $4.5 million project will include a restaurant, brewery and taproom with a dock offering “sunset views and shrimp boats galore.” The project is also expected to create about 70 to 80 jobs to begin with, said Salt Marsh Brewing co-owner Nick Borreggine.
“About 43 of those jobs will be just on the brewery side,” he said.
Borreggine – along with his father, Nick Borreggine Sr. – also owns Fat Patties in Bluffton and Port Royal. The two are partnering with investor Lynn Jersild for the new business, expected to open in December of 2020, he said.
The three have been working with local economic development officials as well as the S.C. Department of Commerce on the project since January of 2019.
A 7,000-square-foot warehouse that’s currently being used to process shrimp, will be renovated for the brewery which will feature an automated canning line. A 4,500-square-foot building next to it, which currently houses an industrial ice machine, will become the restaurant.
The business will also include a dock for boaters to tie-on and an outdoor space including a Carolina room and a stage for live music.
The restaurant and brewery will be provide a unique visitor destination for foodies and beer lovers alike, since there aren’t any other brewing companies with dock access in the region, Borreggine said.
“I think there is one in Maine but yes, it is pretty unique,” he said.
Borreggine and his wife, who live on Lady’s Island, said they realized they were spending a lot of time in Port Royal for festivals and other events, so the new location made a lot of sense.
“I’m looking forward to taking a boat to work,” he said.
The brewery will feature Salt Marsh’s trademark line of craft beer and a new line of fruited sour beers in which beer is aged in oak barrels with locally grown fruits added in.
The restaurant, which hasn’t been named yet, does not have a set menu, but Borreggine said he envisions it featuring fire-roasted meats and seafood.
“But it will not be a seafood restaurant per se,” he said.
He also doesn’t expect to be in direct competition with Fishcamp on 11th Street, a popular seafood restaurant overlooking Battery Creek, next door to the warehouse site.
Instead it will build on what’s already there, making the area even more of a visitor draw.
“I would even throw Madison’s two blocks away into that mix,” he said. “I think all three of us will bounce off each other.”