Once a venue reserved for adults, craft breweries across South Carolina are now welcoming beer-drinking parents along with their kids.
These days brew houses are more like “a community center with alcohol … (for families) who just want to have fun,” says Mike Tourville, owner of Columbia's River Rat Brewery.
With families making up approximately half its customers, River Rat has embraced the successful business model, joining other breweries across the state in creating an inviting environment for young patrons.
Drew Walker, who has served as River Rat's brewmaster since it opened in 2013, says there was never a conscious decision to make the location family-friendly.
“It was just sort of organic,” he says. “We wanted a place where people want to hang out, so we put in the outdoor yard. We wanted families to come and bring their kids, so we added the playhouses and toys.”
Looking for a spot to sip a local craft beer while your youngsters have fun? Check out these kid-loving breweries.
Along with its indoor and rooftop bars (with views of USC’s Williams-Brice Stadium), the Columbia brewery has a large grassy outdoor play area with plastic rideable vehicles and other toys. It also offers cornhole and a variety of games for kids, child-friendly food options and regular outdoor movie screenings.
The taproom stocks a variety of kids’ snacks (chips, crackers, etc.) and a selection of board games for children and adults to enjoy together. Covered outdoor picnic tables overlook a large, grassy area perfect for play.
The non-beer menu includes kid-popular pizzas, big pretzels with cheese dipping sauce and more. There are grassy areas outside, plus a second-floor observation deck where families can watch airplanes land and take off at Jim Hamilton-L.B. Owens Airport.
Kids feel right at home at the Half Pint Kids' Table, stocked with a variety of games, books and a chalkboard. You'll also find Giant Jenga, enjoyed by both adults and kids, and English-style darts (mostly for adults).
The indoor-outdoor taproom has shaded picnic tables where parents can sit, sip and watch their children play basketball or kickball. On weekends during summer months, there’s live music for the whole family.
This North Charleston brewery has hosted several kid-specific events like the eclipse-themed painting class (Paints and Pints) that took place in advance of the 2017 solar eclipse. Unlike some taprooms, Rusty Bull is well-lighted with comfortable seating for families.
Located on Main Street in Travelers Rest, the brewery has outdoor spaces and is a stone’s throw from the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a family-oriented cycling path that runs all the way into downtown Greenville. Kids are always welcome inside the brewery, too.
Located in the revitalized Hampton Station near downtown, this brewery is surrounded by attractions: White Duck Taco restaurant is a family favorite, as are Due South Coffee and Craft Axe Throwing. BFS also has picnic tables, cornhole games and is 30 yards from the Swamp Rabbit Trail. In warm months, King of Pops craft popsicles and food trucks are on site.
There’s plenty for kids here: TVs and a large outdoor seating area, and even diaper-changing stations in both the men’s and women’s restrooms. Snacks—chips, peanuts and popsicles during warm months—are for sale, and food trucks visit often, or patrons can bring their own food. Well-mannered dogs are always welcome.
While there’s no kid-designated area, the brewery has an enclosed outdoor seating area catering to families. Entertainment options include games like cornhole, Connect Four and Uno, along with video games such as Frogger. An indoor lounge area has low tables suitable for kids and is popular with the staff’s children.
Fat Patties, the tap room for Salt Marsh Brewing, offers a large outside play area stocked with toys, balls, hula hoops, a giant Connect Four board, Jenga and other kid attractions. The kids’ menu features homemade ice cream, including the undisputed favorite: Burnt Marshmallow.
Fritz and Catherine Gusmer, owners of Windy Hill, grew up making cider with a wooden press given to them by their mother, so they are well-attuned to the younger set. A big draw for kids here is the signature hot apple cider doughnuts available fresh in-season.
A big grassy area is an inviting destination where kids can kick soccer balls, throw footballs or spin hula hoops, all provided in a large outdoor toy box. Also on hand are corn hole and Giant Jenga. A kids’ menu (with coloring pages) features grilled cheese, chicken nuggets and pizza. On Tuesdays, kids eat free with paying adults.
This brewery checks off all the family- and kid-friendly boxes and a few extras, including arcade games, Skee-Ball, Giant Jenga, shuffleboard and cornhole. The kids’ menu offers fountain soft drinks in warmer months. Kids and pets are welcome to play in the outdoor beer garden.
The brewery and cidery’s bright, well-lit and large indoor area has TVs, food and benches, plus cornhole and other games for kids and young-at-heart adults. Besides their own brews, Ciclops sells plenty of other craft beers.
The large indoor facility features games—such as cornhole and foosball—and plenty of room for kids to romp. Live music is offered occasionally. The Silo at RJ Rockers is next door with additional dining options for families.
New Groove Artisan Brewery (www.newgroovebrew.com)
Located in Boiling Springs, this facility welcomes families and large groups with good food, kid-favorite beverages and indoor games. A special treat: craft sodas for youngsters and non-beer drinkers.