About

SOUTH CAROLINA BAR & TAVERN ASSOCIATION

The South Carolina Bar & Tavern Association 501(c)6, was formed by a group of citizens concerned with the direction of the South Carolina bar industry by our State government. The formation of this group is with the intent to give us a voice at the State level.

Now more than ever it is CRITICAL that we have a strong presence in Columbia and people fighting for us on all fronts to ensure our collaborative voices are heard and bars and taverns survive in SC.  SCBATA aims to serve as a resource and voice for bar & tavern owners across the state. We plan to work closely with state and local officials to build better relationships, advocate for changes within the current system, and educate the public on who we are and what we really do.

Our mission is to keep ALL members up to date and informed of current issues affecting bars and taverns in SC. Ensuring the future and equal treatment of bars in SC is our goal. Membership is open to any bar, tavern or venue that serves alcohol in SC. Membership dues will go to support the employment of a lobbyist to work on behalf of SCBATA in Columbia and insure that our platform is at the forefront of any discussion that impacts our industry.

We are currently working to bring attention to the need to reform the SC lack of codified dram shop legislation as it relates to civil liability and the issues of joint and several liability. A dram shop is a commercial establishment that sells alcoholic beverages and the legislation known as dram shop statutes or laws are intended to establish liability for the harmful acts of intoxicated customers.

Bars & Taverns are integral parts of our communities in SC. We provide jobs, pay taxes, host fundraisers, promote inclusion and diversity, provide a sense of friendship and fellowship, and most of all specialize in the HUMAN experience.

EXECUTIVE BOARD

STEVE LETT – PRESIDENT

Coming Soon

 

JOE GULLEDGE – VICE PRESIDENT

Joe Gulledge is the owner of Hoppin’ in Rock Hill, SC that opened in 2023. Prior to opening Hoppin’ Joe worked as a band director in SC for 28 years. During that time he was President of the SC Band Directors Association and most recently was President of the SC Music Educators Association. During his term on the SCBDA Executive Board he spent extensive time working to help pass legislation (S.302) that allows SC students to receive PE credit for participation in Marching Band. Joe and his wife (Sue) live in Rock Hill, SC

BEN HEBEL – TREASURER

Ben Hebel is an agent at KSA Insurance located in Charleston, SC. Ben is a highly skilled and dedicated producer known for delivering top-notch work. Majority of Ben’s clients are commercial accounts that require extensive industry experience that Ben has. Ben brings a strong skill set and unwavering work ethic to every account. His meticulous attention to detail and commitment to excellence set him apart in his field. Ben’s. Ben and his wife (Carter) are from in Charleston and still live there today.

 

RUSTY JAQUISS – SECRETARY

My career with Frosty Frog Cafe began in 2005, started in the kitchen, after time became the GM. I had the privilege to serve in this role for many years. Most recently, I have taken over as owner.

Volunteering and serving others has always been a priority in my life, and I have served on various boards and committees. I am excited to continue to serve on behalf of all the many people in our industry. What we do is important. It touches the lives of so many people across the great state of SC. I believe that if we work together, we will be able to bring about the necessary reforms as well as to keep our doors open and lights on in the future.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

EDDIE MARTIN

South Carolina native. Owner Jocassee Valley Brewing. Previously owned and operated Oconee Farm and Garden. Previously worked for Oconee Soil and Water Conservation District, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing (3M Corporation) in project engineering. Currently serves on The Foothills Farmstead Board Of Directors, Lake Hartwell Country Board of Directors and The Eagles Nest Art Center Commissioners Board. He and his wife Lynne front the Appalachian folk band Conservation Theory. 

 MELANIE SILLS

Entrepreneur with proven start-up and ongoing success as Owner/Operator of multiple businesses. In April 2005, I left corporate life behind and purchased my first business of The UPS Store franchise and took on a second store that the franchisor was going to close and rebuilt it. I operated both stores until 2014 when I sold them and they are still operational and thriving today.  

Since 2007, I’ve opened and operated with my husband 3 grapevine Wine Bar & Shop locations, all in York County SC.  I love to travel and garden (and wine), rock music and animals. I also enjoy home and building renovation and currently working to rehabilitate a 90-100 year old Georgian-style home in Historic York SC where she lives with her husband of 25 years and 3 Italian Greyhounds named Enzo, Proton and Paulie Walnuts. 

 Danelle Rambo

Coming Soon

Lisa Madden

Coming Soon

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

CHRISTOPHER SMITH – EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Chris was born and raised on Long Island, NY and moved to South Carolina 8 years ago when he was relocated here for a job. He opened an entertainment company 6 years ago, which provides DJ and MC services to many different bars and restaurants in the Upstate of South Carolina. Chris spent many years working in government and politics, which is one of the reasons he founded this organization. He lives with his wife Ilisa, their son Carter and another baby on the way due in October. They live in Greenville.