#TSCSUMMIT Spotlight: Firefly Distillery

Apr 8 2014

by Emily Laborde Hines

One of my favorite parts of the Southern C Summits is discovering new Southern made brands and sharing them. We’re excited to have Firefly Distillery join us for #tscsummit Charleston! I recently talked with Sarah, Firefly’s marketing manager, to talk about Firefly’s story, cocktails, and Charleston.
Tell us a little about the distillery and its origins…
Firefly Distillery co-founders Jim Irvin and Scott Newitt crossed paths in the early 2000s as Jim Irvin owned a winery and Scott Newitt worked as a wine distributor. Scott began selling Jim’s wine and they quickly became friends. Scott wanted to create a southern vodka and with Jim’s Biology and Chemistry background they were a natural fit. Scott and Jim decided to use Jim’s grapes in their first product and created Firefly Muscadine Wine Flavored Vodka in 2006. However, this product was forced to be distilled in Florida as the South Carolina laws did not favor opening a distillery. Jim and Scott had the law changed (lowering the distilling fee from $50,000 to $2,000) and began distilling their next product in South Carolina- Sweet Tea Vodka. Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka (2008) is the original sweet tea vodka and came to the market April 15th 2008, instantly becoming a hit. Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka uses the only tea produced in North America and Louisiana sugar cane, in addition to four times distilled vodka. Since Sweet Tea Vodka debuted Firefly Distillery has continued distilling in South Carolina, adding several more tea flavored spirits in addition to a straight vodka, three rums, six liqueurs, and seven moonshines. Firefly is very proud to continue using quality natural ingredients to create handcrafted southern spirits. Jim and Scott changed another South Carolina law allowing distilleries to taste and sell spirits on site, allowing thousands of fans to visit our home.
Why Charleston?
Charleston is home to Jim Irvin and Scott Newitt. Owners are very grateful to call Charleston home, and home to their business. Charleston continues to be a great launch pad for new products due to the high interest in beverages by locals and visitors talking/buying Firefly when they return home.
What’s your Firefly cocktail?
Currently my favorite Firefly cocktail is the Skinny Tea Vodka mixed with Jameson Irish Whiskey and Lemonade!
If Firefly had a theme song, what would it be?
Firefly Moonshine theme song would have to be Florida Georgia Line’s song “This Is How We Roll”- they are big fans of our Apple Pie!
What are you hoping to learn from TSC Summit in Charleston?
Creative ways to reach new customers who are interested in southern libations
What are you most looking forward to at TSC Summit in Charleston?
Most looking forward to meeting new people who have a vested interest in expanding Southern culture.
What do you hope attendees will be sure to see while in Charleston?
I’d love to have the visitors check out our distillery, the drive to the distillery is gorgeous then you arrive on our 50 acres full of Live Oak trees and Spanish moss, bunny rabbits, chickens, dogs, a vineyard and tons of Firefly spirits! Downtown visitors can not leave Charleston before walking South of Broad Street, the architecture and history is unparalleled.
Describe your ideal day in Charleston.
My Ideal Day- Fit in a run on the Ravenel Bridge, a few hours on the beach then stopping by to get fresh shrimp for a Lowcountry Boil. Ending the day with friends in the backyard with great local food and cocktails!
Y’all don’t want to miss The Southern C Summit in Charleston!
Get your ticket today!


Emily Laborde Hines View More Blog Posts from this Author

Emily Hines is a Georgia girl now living in Bloomington, Indiana with her husband and two black labs. She is a freelance writer and digital media manager hooked on cruising back roads, craft beer, and snapping photos of old buidings. Follow along with my United States travels at Em's on the Road.

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