Matthew McLaughlin is a CBB fave. He’s one of the country’s best food and beverage law experts, and his firm McLaughlin PC is equally excellent. We should probably ask him for advice and insights more often. Now, this 16-year alcohol regulatory attorney vet and 2017 winner of the FX Matt Defense of the Industry Award by the Brewers Association is helping found a brewery in Mississippi.
Fertile Ground Beer Co. just announced plans for a craft brewery to be located in the historic Belhaven neighborhood of Jackson, Miss. Scheduled to open in 2021, Fertile Ground Beer will be housed in a former laundry building previously owned by Baptist Medical Center (kudos to reinventing old facilities). Descriptions of the locale so far include: large welcoming interior, spacious outdoor area and access to other attractions at Belhaven Town Center (a charming mixed-use development area in Jackson). As far as vision, let’s jump to the press release:
Fertile Ground Beer Co. is envisioned to be a third space. Third space is a sociocultural term to designate communal space, as distinct from the home (first space) or work (second space). The founders recognized a need for this, a place to gather, socialize and bring families, while incorporating their passion for craft beer. The transformative project will elevate craft beer in the capital city through an adaptive reuse development at Belhaven Town Center. Located in the commercial area of Belhaven, Belhaven Town Center opened with the first phase in early 2020 to include several new restaurants. The completed center will include dining, retail and small businesses.
“Matthew and I were on the Belhaven Improvement Association board about a decade ago when I was just starting to think about Belhaven Town Center,” says David Turner, developer of Belhaven Town Center. “Matthew remembers me talking about this project and specifically that I wanted to get a brewery one day at this location. It’s cool how those early seeds were planted in both of our minds and we now see this coming to fruition. We are very excited about this group and their vast knowledge of the food and beverage industry and breweries in particular. We look forward to partnering with them on some cool events in the near future.”
“It’s the perfect location,” says Matthew McLaughlin, co-founder of Fertile Ground Beer Co. and founder of McLaughlin, PC law firm. “We are so excited to open this brewery within the Belhaven Town Center development and know that it will be a destination that everyone can enjoy. The name Fertile Ground derives from the 2014 TEDxJackson event with the same name that focused on entrepreneurship, ideas worth spreading, creativity, and new urbanism in Jackson. Fertile Ground Beer Co. will carry these themes forward in the form of an inviting and open third space where people can enjoy locally and regionally made craft beer.”
“We saw an opportunity and a need for a brewery in Jackson,” says Conner Reeves, co-founder of the brewery and attorney at McLaughlin, PC. “We aren’t quitting our day jobs, but wanted a place to drink locally-made beer. We put together a really talented team to create and operate the brewery and it’s backed by some great local investors who believe in the concept and location. The brewery will have craft beer options for everyone, from the enthusiast to the newcomer, so everyone can find their next ‘go-to’ beer.”
We’ll keep you updated on the progress.