Beer sampling legal at microbreweries now
Beer-quaffing tourists can sample and buy craft brews at South Carolina microbreweries under a new law promoted by Gov. Mark Sanford.
The Republican governor applauded lawmakers for lifting the state ban on on-site beer tastings and sales, sampling an ale made with peaches at a Spartanburg microbrewery. State law already allowed tastings at wineries and liquor distilleries.
"Government has a duty to allow businesses as much freedom as possible," Sanford said. "We see no reason why South Carolina breweries shouldn't be allowed to sell the products they make to consumers, and indeed we'd like to see more of this kind of deregulation in the future."
The measure allows samplings and on-site sales only if customers take a tour. Each tourist can buy up to a case of beer per day. The law also allows specialty beer-and-wine retail stores to offer up to 24 samplings per quarter.
South Carolina has five microbreweries, according to the state brewers association. But president Jaime Tenny has said she expects the craft brew business to increase under the law. Several new brewers are already in the works, the association says.
The high-octane craft beers that connoisseurs will sample were illegal in South Carolina before 2007, when legislators lifted the 6 percent alcohol-by-volume cap on beer.
Unemployment is up in Aiken and Edgefield
Unemployment in the metro area's two South Carolina counties went up in June, the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce recently reported.
The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.7 percent, a drop from the revised 11.1 percent in May.
It was the fifth consecutive month of decline in the unemployment rate, and the fourth straight month in which the civilian labor force also has declined.
The jobless rate in Aiken County was 7.9 percent, an increase from 7.7 percent in May, but lower than the 10.5 percent recorded in June 2009.
Edgefield County had an unemployment rate of 9.2 percent, an increase from 8.5 percent in May, but also lower than June 2009. when it was 11.2 percent.
Data showed the labor forces in both counties were higher in June, and those people didn't find work- as the number of unemployed increased similarly.
Despite the increase, Aiken County had the lowest unemployment rate in the state, followed closely by Beaufort and Lexington counties.
Edgefield County had the fifth-lowest rate in the state, in a tie with Charleston and Saluda counties.
Auditions at Imperial for 'Augusta Idol'
The Imperial Theatre will hold auditions for Augusta Idol on Aug. 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Everyone who shows up to audition will go through preliminary judging. Ages 15-28 as of July 17 are eligible to audition.
Registration forms are available at wfxg.com.
The public is invited to a live show at 7 p.m. where the semifinalists will perform and a winner will be chosen. The winner will be flown to San Francisco to audition for American Idol. Admission is free, but seating is limited. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
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