As HGTC’s brewing program nears approval, beermakers say timing is right

Before opening The Homebrewer’s Pantry, Thomas Lucas didn’t know how many people thirsted for their own craft beer.

A year later, the trend is obvious.

“We’ve really tripled what we thought we were going to do,” the Conway store owner said. “We had about 20 people that we knew homebrewed ... We’re like, ‘If those guys come in twice a month, we’ll keep the lights on.’ And honestly, that’s not even a fraction of the people that are coming in.”

Although the craft beer craze swept through the country’s larger cities years ago, in some ways it’s just beginning to brew on the Grand Strand. Industry leaders say several beer-related businesses are trying to get off the ground, but the biggest boon to the suds supply could be the new brewing program at Horry-Georgetown Technical College.

“It’s in high demand,” said college spokeswoman Mary Eaddy. “We’ve had calls about that program from all over the world.”