15 Oct 2018
It’s been a long-running joke that Hilton Head Island is a drinking town with a golf problem, but lately, all manner of brewers and distillers are ensuring that when islanders do imbibe they get nothing but the best. As the craft movement has swept through both the beer and cocktail industries, it has made its mark on the Lowcountry with a slew of locally made libations. From spirits to wine to beer, you can fill your glass with some Lowcountry potables and get a true taste for the flavor of this remarkable region.
Silver Dew Winery
Reviving a winemaking tradition started generations ago, Silver Dew Winery at Daufuskie Island’s Bloody Point Lighthouse uses fresh muscadines grown on site to make its traditional scuppernong wines. And since you have to travel to Daufuskie to try some, getting there is half the fun.
Located on Hilton Head Island, this mom and pop operation draws from a unique blend of family tradition and scientific acumen. Georgene Mortimer, who owns the winery with husband Loren, drew on her experience as an environmental consultant to find the ideal terroir for wines produced just like her grandfather used to make. While the grapes don’t grow here, the wine is made here and the bottles are decorated with works by local artists.
Founder Tony Bagnulo had a long history in spirit marketing before launching his own line of gin. Although distilled in the upstate, this refreshing gin is as local as it comes, with ingredients that often include citrus fruits picked in Bagnulo’s backyard. This is small-batch at its finest, which is why it holds a spot of honor at Hilton Head Island’s finest bars.
Hilton Head Island Distillery
Bottled and distilled on-island, Hilton Head Island Distillery made their mark bringing craft quality to rum, a natural fit given their island heritage. From the traditional spices of their Redlock to the bourbon-infused flavors of the Two Traditions, they’re rewriting rum’s rulebook. Even so, their signature spirit might just be the Aermoor Vodka, distilled using the ample humidity of the island.
River Dog Brewing The Lowcountry’s own home-grown brewery recently made a huge mark on the national stage with a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival for their “3 Barrel Circus” wood- and barrel-aged sour. While their work with sour beers brings home the hardware, everything they put out is a home run. Stop by a SERG group restaurant and try their Beachn Blonde Ale. Trust us.
Hilton Head Brewing Co.
The island’s first brewery is best known for its ubiquitous Tropical Lager and CRAB Pilsners, two canned beers perfectly balanced to perfectly complement a day at the beach. But to really gain an appreciation for the wizardry filling the HHBCtanks you need to visit their north end taproom, which has been recently expanded to include outdoor seating. Here you can try their seasonal and monthly drafts, then fill a growler with your favorite.
IF YOU GO
Looking to sample all of the Lowcountry’s finest beer, wine, and spirits? We can’t in good conscience recommend attempting to do so all in one day, so you’re going to need to make a long weekend out of this trip (or a lost weekend, we won’t judge). Fortunately, Vacation Company offers a flexible way to enjoy the finest in Hilton Head Island living without being pinned down to a full week.
Check out vacationcompany.com to see their full line of four-night minimum rentals, from sprawling oceanfront luxury homes to cozy seaside villas. Bring a friend or bring a few friends, then find your perfect vacation getaway and raise your glass to the Lowcountry’s many home-grown spirits.
BY: BARRY KAUFMAN