SC historian to speak on alcohol, drinking in yesteryear


CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Next time you tip back a craft IPA staring at flat-screen TVs or order an infusion cocktail from a mixologist, consider what the patron sitting on a barstool sipped on in colonial times or the prohibition era.

The Horry County Museum will welcome J.R. Fennell, director of the Lexington County Museum and native of Walterboro for a lecture on the history of alcohol and drinking in South Carolina. According to a news release, it will take place June 10 at 1 p.m in the McCown Auditorium at 805 Main Street in Conway.

South Carolina was colonized by the British around 1712, according to Wikipedia, and prohibition ended around 1933. Fennell will cover the over-200-year span, touching on a range of topics including the dispensary system, a state-run monopoly on liquor sales that operated from 1893 to 1907 and until 1916 in some counties.

The dispensary system, which became law in 1892, was viewed by anti-prohibitionists as better than prohibition. It was viewed by prohibitionists as a step toward outright prohibition, but not ideal. It required all liquor sold to be bottled and dispensed through state-run facilities.

Fennell has served as acting director of the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, worked at the SC Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum and has been director of the Lexington County Museum since 2007.

For more information, call 843-915-5320.

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