PENDLETON, S.C. (WSPA) – Since 2019, Ernie Wagner has run Swamp Fox Distilling on Exchange Street in Pendleton, S.C. The building has been a part of town life a lot longer.

”Our building was built in 1912. It was Jameson’s market probably until the 60s, maybe 70s.” 

Original advertising dating to the 1920s is on display.

They were found inside walls, supporting the sawdust that was used as insulation for a meat locker. 

”We wanted to keep as much of it as original as we could. The ceilings are all original, the ductwork is all original, everything is just like it was back in 1912.” 

Swamp Fox is unique in that it only makes one type of spirit.

”We’re the only all-rum distillery in South Carolina. So it’s pretty unique.  When we started doing it, we found out people would say “wow, rum is my favorite”…it’s like, how can it be everybody’s favorite if no one is doing this?” 

After retirement, Ernie, and his wife Peg, moved to the Upstate to be closer to family.

An engineer who home-brewed on the side, Ernie wanted to follow a dream and do something a little different than the average distiller.

“I love rum. And I didn’t want to be one of the many other moonshine places around here.” 

Self-taught through many trips to distilleries in the U.S. and Caribbean, the results, an array of rum styles and flavors under the Pure Corruption brand, speak for themselves. 

”We’ve won multiple gold medals with the rum; our first international gold medal a couple of weeks ago with our aged rum.”

Their aged rum sits in charred, white oak barrels. This gives the rum a bourbon-like feel.

”These barrels…it’s got to be in there for two years, my Dead Center XO rum.  After two years I will start tasting it to see if it is done.  If it’s not done, then it has to wait.” 

If that taste is not your thing, don’t worry.

”Right now we have ten different rums. So we have eight unaged rums, and those are your mixed drink rums. And then we have two aged rums, barrel aged rums, and those are your sipping rums.” 

Those other rums include flavors like coconut, cinnamon, and an orange and vanilla flavor called “All-In” that’s a shout-out to a certain nearby neighbor. 

Swamp Fox also gives back to the community they serve. 

”February, the entire month we donate 10% of all of our sales to the Pendleton Volunteer Fire Department: February for firefighters.” 

Swamp Fox has also been involved with the Pendleton Rhinos “Shop with a Cop” program, Izzie’s Pond Wildlife Rescue, and different cancer charities. 

All-in with Pendleton. 

Enjoy responsibly.