Lagunitas Brewing Company, since May 2017 fully owned subsidiary of Heineken (inside.beer, 6.5.2017), has permanently closed its brewery in Charleston, South Carolina. In July, the brewery closed abruptly the historic brick building from 1880 for repairs after the city ordered scaffolding put up to protect nearby pedestrians from bricks that might fall. In the meantime it became apparent that renovating the rented building would be too costly and Lagunitas has ended its lease. Under its lease agreement Lagunitas was paying for the repairs.
Since 1996 the building was home of Southend Brewery before Lagunitas founder Tony Magee visited the city to attend a Beer Festival in early 2016. He discovered the brewpub and was “infatuated with the place."
"We are pretty sad that this did not go as we hoped,” Director of Communications at Lagunitas Karen Hamilton explained. “We had been doing repairs on the building since we took over and planned on continuing to repair and update while we were open. We've done that kind of maintenance and repair many times. However, we realized we could not safely do the repairs that were becoming obvious while we were open, so we closed in the hopes we could expedite the work. Then after taking a lot of time to do an in-depth examination of repairs that were absolutely necessary, it became clear that there was far more to be done than we ever imagined."
Still, the Petaluma, California, based brewer has not given up the idea of running a brewery in Charleston. "We still hope to be able to stay a part of the local community and are looking at options that would allow us to do just that. We fell in love with Charleston and the people and are hopeful for the future!" Hamilton said.