Catawba Valley Brewing Co. sent word that its purchase of Charleston, S.C.’s Palmetto Brewing Co. is officially complete. As announced in early November, the Pyatt family has retained 100 percent ownership of the combined entity.
“Catawba and Palmetto have been working on this transaction for a long time, and it’s rewarding to see it come together during the holiday season,” said Billy Pyatt, CEO and co-owner of Catawba. “We are excited and nervous, both perfectly proper emotions surrounding a deal of this scope. But we are ready to implement our operational plan. In fact, we haven’t been waiting at all — we’ve invested over $1 million in manufacturing capacity expansions for Morganton and Charleston in December.”
Palmetto Brewing of Charleston, founded in 1993, is S.C.’s first craft brewery. Formerly owned by the Lipov family and deeply rooted into the Charleston community, they have experienced growth from 2,000 barrels in 2012 to a forecasted 16,000 barrels in 2017. Palmetto beers are currently distributed in S.C., N.C., and parts of Ga. Their brewery and tasting room is in Charleston.
Catawba owns and operates brewing facilities in Morganton, Asheville, and Charlotte, N.C., and now in Charleston, S.C. Those four locations have a combined capacity of around 50,000 barrels and are each capable of producing any Catawba or Palmetto brand.
“Each of our breweries has a specific operational strength. Our goal is to create Manufacturing Centers of Excellence around those strengths and tie them together logistically to meet customer requirements for volume and product diversity,” said Scott Pyatt, COO and co-owner.
Catawba’s established wholesaler network will distribute the combined company’s beers statewide in N.C., S.C., Tenn., Ala., Ga. and in The Dominican Republic. Additional territories are under exploration as well.
The company will continue operating their tasting rooms in Morganton, Asheville-South Slope, Asheville-Biltmore Village and Charlotte. In addition, the Palmetto tasting room at 289 Huger Street in Charleston will be renovated, enlarged, outfitted to offer a much greater variety of beers. “We thoroughly embrace our hybrid wholesale/retail strategy and are extremely lucky the former Palmetto owner, Larry Lipov, is our Charleston landlord. He is working with us to build a sophisticated yet comfortable space with a Charleston Lowcountry-feeling that genuinely reflects our brands,” said Jetta Pyatt, CFO and co-owner.
Catawba has offered employment to all former Palmetto employees and has already begun searching for additional brewing staff to triple the Charleston brewery’s output and to extend the operating scope of the tasting room in Charleston.