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Sweet Grass Vodka establishing operations in Charleston County

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Jarrod and Alicia Swanger tapped into her Polish heritage and a family potato vodka recipe as they developed Sweet Grass Vodka. (Photo/Provided)This story was updated Sept 22.

Sweet Grass Vodka, a family-owned spirits and distilling company, will establish front-door operations in Charleston County with a new location open to the public.

The company’s $1.7 million investment will create 47 new jobs, according to a news release from the state Department of Commerce and Charleston County Economic Development.

For CEO Jarrod Swanger, the site will boost the local visibility of a hometown company that is being seen nationally and internationally.

“At the beginning of last year we entered the Global Vodka Masters and won three masters for vodka and we were in Forbes magazine so we knew sometime this year we would need some kind of location that would show what we are all about, show a little bit of the distilling process, show a little bit of the bottling process, but also get our name out there and let people come and visit us and see what we do,” Swanger said.

Founded in 2020, Sweet Grass Vodka crafts vodka and spirits from South Carolina-grown potatoes. Swanger said he and his wife Alicia were already vodka aficionados when they started exploring options for his next entrepreneurial endeavor and learned that potato vodka is considered one of the cleanest distilled spirits.

“My wife is Polish. Her family had somewhat of a potato vodka recipe and we’ve always wanted to be in this industry,” Swanger said. “We got with local moonshiners, local farmers (to) see what mineral content pairs well with what spirits and we’ve put out what we thought was the best potato vodka. Our goal was to stop drinking the commercial stuff — Belvedere, Kettle One. We liked high-end vodkas but we wanted to make something our own, something special, something high end, but at a Tito’s price point so that’s what we set out to do. And that was further affirmed last year when we beat Belvedere, Kettle One, everybody in the Global Vodka Masters so it’s really a double dream come true for us.”

Located at 1640 Meeting St. in Charleston, Sweet Grass Vodka’s new facility will be its first operation in Charleston County and its second location in South Carolina, the other being a distillery and warehouse near Spartanburg. The Charleston facility will be a bottling plant, offering a tasting room for spirits and small bites.

"We are enthusiastic about launching our second location in South Carolina in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Charleston,” Sweet Grass Vodka CEO Jarrod Swanger said in a news release. “We are proud of our quality, locally sourced vodka — and this new facility will showcase Sweet Grass Vodka on a larger scale."

Operations are expected to be online in October.

“We’re excited to celebrate the success of Charleston’s own Sweet Grass Vodka,” Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said in the release. “The new establishment at The Refinery will allow them to grow their operations locally, creating new jobs while investing in our community.” 

Charleston County Council Chairman Teddie Pryor welcomed the investment.

“We are pleased to welcome Sweet Grass Vodka to our community and look forward to its continued growth and success,” he said in the release. “Using the best of locally sourced ingredients, Sweet Grass Vodka is committed to an authentic homegrown experience.” 

Reach Ross Norton at rnorton@scbiznews.com

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