By Dannielle Garcia, Loyola Student News Service
Before the prohibition era, New Orleans prided itself on being the “Beer Capitol of the South.” Now, with five breweries and more on the way, those days may be returning.
Urban South, open for only seven months, just celebrated its expansion. The brewery had a ribbon cutting ceremony for new tanks in their Tchoupitoulas Street home on Friday, Nov. 11.
“It’s a relatively small town but I think it’s really a town that embraces local products. We get a lot of tourists coming in throughout the year, and so I thought it was a great town to really expose people [to craft beer],” founder Jacob Landry said.
Matt Smith, an attorney and resident of the Warehouse District area, said living close to the brewery businesses has its perks.
“I’m really excited that this area is growing with new businesses,” said Smith. “I like the idea that my money stays here. It’s really important to support people in my neighborhood because I’ve lived here and work here and I play here.”
Just down the street from Urban South is another craft brewery that is a little more of a veteran to the local beer scene. NOLA Brewery has been around for about eight years, opening right after Hurricane Katrina. They have expanded twice and are still growing.
“There’s certainly going to be some competition that will ensue. We hadn’t really had competition here because the craft breweries are just trying to get people to drink their beer at all,” said founder of NOLA Brewery Kirk Coco. “But I think the competition is going to make this craft beer industry in Louisiana and especially in New Orleans even stronger.”
Craft beer is more than just for crawfish boils and tailgating. The craft brews require experimentation, a taste process that comes with a steeper price tag. Each beer sells for about $5 to $7 which is standard amongst craft beers.
“Making beers that fit well in hot weather which we have 10 months out of the year and making them fit well with spicy food and seafood really is ideal for a New Orleans brewery,” said Coco.
Scott Miller, one of the brewers and chefs behind the Urban South flavors, said brewing is his creative passion.
“What we’re doing, it’s our craft. It’s going to make people happy but it’s more of a slow ‘enjoy this’ kind of experience,” said Miller.
Although the beer is reserved for those who are 21 and over, the brewery atmosphere can be enjoyed by all. Brewery tours and the food for sale attract locals and tourists of all ages to the warehouse breweries.
Urban South holds brewery tours Thursday through Monday at 5 p.m. and NOLA Brewery holds them every Friday at 2 p.m.
The Loyola Student News Service features reporters from advanced-level journalism classes at Loyola University New Orleans, directed by faculty advisers.