Strange liquor laws create conflict for local sellers as wine giant looks to build in SC

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – The biggest winemaker in the United States wants to open an East Coast bottling and distribution center in South Carolina, investing $400 million and hiring up to 500 people.

But it isn’t the taxpayer money and other typical incentives being offered to E & J Gallo Winery uncorking a struggle over the plan before South Carolina lawmakers.

Instead, it’s the California winemaker’s request to open tasting rooms where people can sample their wines.

That’s turning out to be a tough sell in this Southern state where quirky alcohol laws protect small retailers and harken back to the days of saloons and booze only in private clubs.

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