Southern Brew News April/May 2015 : Page 1

B Y N ORA M C G UNNIGLE B ack at the start of 2013, Louisiana only had six pro-duction breweries — Abita, Covington Brewhouse, NOLA Brewing, Bayou Teche, Parish, and Tin Roof -and only one brewpub, the Crescent City Brewhouse. Two years later, both numbers have doubled — Mandeville’s Old Rail Brewing Company is the state’s second brewpub, and the addition of Chafunkta, Great Raft, Red River, 40 Arpent, Gnarly Barley, Courtyard Brewery, and Mudbug brings Louisiana’s production brewery total to thirteen. This “boom,” as covered in the April/May 2013 issue of Southern Brew News, reflects the ever increasing local demand for craft beer as well as the growth of beer tourism in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. Chafunkta Brewing in Mandeville was the first of the new kids on the block, opening in the spring of 2013. Since then, Josh and Jamie Erickson’s tiny brewery has sold over 4,000 cases and 2,500 kegs of its Voo Ka Ray DIPA, Old 504 porter, and Kingfish cream ale. Co-owner and head brewery Josh Erickson says that the stresses of brewing on a 1.5bbl system have been relieved by taking advantage of contract brewing at Mississippi brewery Lazy Magnolia . “Trying to keep up on our small system while working the day job, with a family of 6, for that long was tough,” he says, “but I'm glad we stuck to it as we can now really see the fruits of our labor with the overwhelming support of the Chafunkta Nation across the Southeast.” The Old Rail Brewing Company opened in the summer of 2013, and since then has sold approximately 500 barrels of five flagship brands as well as rotating seasonals. The Old Rail also won a silver medal for Echo Sierra Bravo in the US Open Beer Championship. “Here we are, this small brewpub in Mandeville at our 1 year anni-versary,” Old Rail head brewer Matthew Horney says of the honor, “and we beat out an amazing brewery with our ESB. To be able to help put Louisiana on the map and show that we are doing some great things down here is seriously the most amazing and rewarding feeling.” The Boom Gets Bigger At the end of 2013, two new breweries in the northern Louisiana city of Shreveport were licensed within days of each other and brought local beer to an area which had very few craft beer options before that. Since then, Great Raft has tripled its brewing capacity to bring over 3,000 barrels of its flagship lagers and special releases in 2014. Co-founder Lindsay Nations says, “We certainly didn’t expect to need that additional capacity so quickly, and were overwhelmed with the support by Louisiana beer drinkers.” Red River has been operating on a much smaller scale than its Shreveport neighbor, hav-ing brewed and sold between 150 and 200 barrels since opening. Co-founder Beau Raines says, “we really didn’t have a clue of what we were doing when we began, even though we thought we did.” He notes that it would have been better to invest more money on the front end on a larger system, more fermenters, and a way to package the beer. Raines adds that he and his two partners have been working on procuring investments to expand the brewery’s capacity to a 30-barrel system and add a tap room. Red River should be moving forward on expansion by the end of 2015 or first quarter of 2016. In March 2014, 40 Arpent in Arabi began distributing its Basin Milk Stout and Delacroix NOLA continued p.2 Tennessee ..................4 Florida ......................5 Alabama/Mississippi ...6 Louisiana ...................7 Georgia ................... 11 The Carolinas .......... 14

The Next Generation Of Louisiana Brewing

Nora McGunnigle

Back at the start of 2013, Louisiana only had six production breweries — Abita, Covington Brewhouse, NOLA Brewing, Bayou Teche, Parish, and Tin Roof - and only one brewpub, the Crescent City Brewhouse. Two years later, both numbers have doubled — Mandeville’s Old Rail Brewing Company is the state’s second brewpub, and the addition of Chafunkta, Great Raft, Red River, 40 Arpent, Gnarly Barley, Courtyard Brewery, and Mudbug brings Louisiana’s production brewery total to thirteen.

This “boom,” as covered in the April/May 2013 issue of Southern Brew News, reflects the ever increasing local demand for craft beer as well as the growth of beer tourism in New Orleans and the surrounding areas.

Chafunkta Brewing in Mandeville was the first of the new kids on the block, opening in the spring of 2013. Since then, Josh and Jamie Erickson’s tiny brewery has sold over 4,000 cases and 2,500 kegs of its Voo Ka Ray DIPA, Old 504 porter, and Kingfish cream ale. Co-owner and head brewery Josh Erickson says that the stresses of brewing on a 1.5bbl system have been relieved by taking advantage of contract brewing at Mississippi brewery Lazy Magnolia. “Trying to keep up on our small system while working the day job, with a family of 6, for that long was tough,” he says, “but I'm glad we stuck to it as we can now really see the fruits of our labor with the overwhelming support of the Chafunkta Nation across the Southeast.”

The Old Rail Brewing Company opened in the summer of 2013, and since then has sold approximately 500 barrels of five flagship brands as well as rotating seasonals. The Old Rail also won a silver medal for Echo Sierra Bravo in the US Open Beer Championship. “Here we are, this small brewpub in Mandeville at our 1 year anniversary,” Old Rail head brewer Matthew Horney says of the honor, “and we beat out an amazing brewery with our ESB. To be able to help put Louisiana on the map and show that we are doing some great things down here is seriously the most amazing and rewarding feeling.”

The Boom Gets Bigger

At the end of 2013, two new breweries in the northern Louisiana city of Shreveport were licensed within days of each other and brought local beer to an area which had very few craft beer options before that.

Since then, Great Raft has tripled its brewing capacity to bring over 3,000 barrels of its flagship lagers and special releases in 2014.Co-founder Lindsay Nations says, “We certainly didn’t expect to need that additional capacity so quickly, and were overwhelmed with the support by Louisiana beer drinkers.”

Red River has been operating on a much smaller scale than its Shreveport neighbor, having brewed and sold between 150 and 200 barrels since opening. Co-founder Beau Raines says, “we really didn’t have a clue of what we were doing when we began, even though we thought we did.” He notes that it would have been better to invest more money on the front end on a larger system, more fermenters, and a way to package the beer.Raines adds that he and his two partners have been working on procuring investments to expand the brewery’s capacity to a 30-barrel system and add a tap room. Red River should be moving forward on expansion by the end of 2015 or first quarter of 2016.

In March 2014, 40 Arpent in Arabi began distributing its Basin Milk Stout and Delacroix Abbey Ale. With six beers released in the last year, scaled up from his homebrew recipes, coowner and head brewer Michael Naquin says that a highlight from the past year was brewing the house beer for the Deutsches Haus, which hosts the oldest and largest Oktoberfest celebration in the area. Naquin hopes to add more capacity in the coming year. “Our beer is really beloved and for that there is a demand for it in other markets within the state. The only thing stopping us is more kegs and more fermentors.”

Skateboarding enthusiast Zac Caramonta and his wife Cari finished construction on the Gnarly Barley brewery in Hammond, LA, and began distributing Catahoula Common and Radical Rye P.A. in May of 2014. Cari Caramonta says of the reception their beer has received, “Not only has Hammond been incredibly supportive, but we've had a great experience in all of our current markets. It's been great to see how ready Louisiana is for the long overdue growth of the craft beer scene.”

Although Courtyard Brewery co-owner and brewer Scott Wood wouldn’t have his own beers available until January of 2015, his New Orleans nanobrewery was able to open and start selling guest taps in October 2014, providing much needed income and customer base building while working out the kinks in his brewing system.“We’re doing so much better than we ever thought we would,” Wood says. “Our revenues are way ahead of what we’d projected in our business plan.” Already, the brewing space has expanded to make room for an in-house laboratory to analyze and categorize yeast strains and monitor water quality.

The newest addition to the Louisiana brewery club is Mudbug Brewing in Thibodaux.Head brewer Leith Adams and his business partners have gone through months of construction and delays as they worked to build the brewery from the ground up. Adams confides, “The last two years have been the longest rollercoaster ever. It's been crazy, but we made sure to do it right. We finally got everything squared away to start brewing in November of 2014 and haven't stopped since.”

The Next Wave

The next wave of breweries in Louisiana is on the horizon with at least five breweries in various states of progress.

Second Line Brewing, owned by Karen and Mark Logan, is renovating its space in the Mid-City neighborhood of New Orleans and hope to be brewing beer by the end of this year. Urban South, another brewery looking to open in the same area, is still in negotiations to acquire space, but owner Jacob Landry is optimistic that production there will begin by the end of 2015 as well.

In New Orleans, Cajun Fire Brewing has been steadily acquiring investment capital and searching for space. Justin Boswell moved back to Louisiana from Washington State last year to open Wayward Owl Brewing, also in New Orleans, and bringing his love of craft beer home.Boswell has not yet announced a specific location or timeline.

Former Gordon Biersch brewmaster Tom Conklin is hanging out his brewing shingle outside of the city at Chappapeela farm in Husser, where he plans to brew small batch farmhouse ales in an actual farmhouse.

As Matthew Horney says, “All in all, the last two years have passed in the blink of an eye.The beer community is thriving and the culture is changing and I think we will continue to see growth as we move forward. It’s wonderful time to be involved in beer here in Louisiana.”

Read the full article at http://sbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/The+Next+Generation+Of+Louisiana+Brewing/1974552/252921/article.html.

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