Louis Bruce and Ed Falkenstein
Palmetto Brewing Company
Charleston, South Carolina
I met Louis and Ed back in 1997 and have loved the brewery and the beer ever since. The brewery is located in an old warehouse at 289 Huger Street in downtown Charleston, just off Hwy 17 at the bottom of the new Ravenel Bridge. The lofted ceiling with old wooden beams is beautiful!
Louis and Ed founded Palmetto Brewing Company in 1994 after several years of research and planning, and tapped their first beer in April of that year. In the early days Louis, a former wine wholesaler, focused on developing the brand and establishing distribution, while Ed handled brewing and operations. It was the first brewery to open in Charleston since Prohibition, taking its name from a historic downtown brewery.
The original Palmetto Brewing operated in Charleston from before the Civil War until sometime after the turn of the 20th century. The two brothers that ran the original Palmetto offered a full bodied lager on draft and in bottles. Draft beer was put up in wooden casks. Bottling was done in blue returnable bottles. That brewery was located a block off the Market on Hayne Street. According to historic records, the icehouse operation that was used to cool the brewery was the largest of its kind at the time. Louis and Ed continue to brew in the same great tradition as the original brewery!
Palmetto Brewing shares the building with a local coffee roasting company that provides them with the espresso beans used in their Espresso Porter – an excellent example of the style with just enough coffee flavor to balance the roasted malts used in the grain bill. Palmetto Brewing has expanded its line-up since inception to include a Lager and Pale Ale. The original Porter is now brewed with espresso, and Palmetto offers seasonal selections. Recent calendar-dependent offerings include Watermelon Wheat, brewed with local watermelons from James Island; an American-style overtly hoppy IPA; and a Bock. Palmetto uses only the finest malted barley, choice hops, ale yeast, and water from the North Edisto River and never uses adjuncts, additives, or preservatives.
You can find Palmetto Beers on draft and in bottles throughout Charleston and in a variety of other local South Carolina markets in your favorite local stores, bars, and restaurants. Take the time to pick up some of their beers and you will be in for a treat!