FMU professors open local craft brewery


Photo by: Austin Kemmerlin

Three nights a week, Seminar Brewing offers sampling in their tasting room.

Rachel Droze, Staff Writer

The first commercial craft brewery in Florence, South Carolina is officially open for business.

Located beside Redbone Alley on West Palmetto Street, Seminar Brewing is owned and operated by two professors at Francis Marion University (FMU), Dr. Bryan Fisher and Travis Knowles, along with their business partners John Mattheis and Dave Peters.

The brewery produces between six and eight different varieties of beer at any given time. Their primary purpose is to sell their product by the keg to bars and restaurants in the Florence and Columbia areas.

“We just signed a contract with an additional distributor so we can distribute our beers in Columbia,” Fisher said. “They just picked up beer, so it’s being distributed in various places now.”

By state law, breweries cannot sell their products directly to their buyers. A distributor is needed to transport and sell the kegs for the brewers.

In addition to selling their products by the keg, three night each week Seminar Brewing opens their tasting room for the community to sample the beers they have in stock, as well as batches of beer that are made only for the tasting room.

“We can sell samples in the tasting room and we also sell growlers, which are standard size half-gallon glass jugs,” Knowles said. “But [growlers] have to be sealed on the premises and taken home for consumption.”

Both the city of Florence and the county support Seminar Brewing. The city and county assisted the brewery in getting the licenses and permits required to open the business.

“The city and the county were aware of . . . craft beer as an exploding segment of the market,” Knowles said. “Cities have had breweries be an important part in revitalizing their downtown areas and [the city and county] wanted that to be a part of Florence.”

There is a growing interest in the brewing of craft beers and the quality of locally brewed products. The citizens of Florence have reacted positively to the introduction of these locally produced beers with the opening of Seminar Brewing.

For more information on Seminar Brewing’s beers, find them on Facebook, visit or call (843)665-9200.