Louisiana craft beer is working hard to earn some attention. Led by Abita Brewing Co., the state is producing topnotch indie brewhouses with names like NOLA Brewing Co. and Bayou Teche Brewing. To encourage outside attention, the Louisiana Craft Brewers Guild just helped pull together the Louisiana Craft Brewery Trail, the latest locale to launch a craft beer-inspired tourist attraction to draw out-of-towners into the state’s brewing industry.
But the state’s brewing industry has not had an easy time of it, at least according to a recent article by Robin Shannon from New Orleans CityBusiness:
“Small brewing operations have a huge following and huge markets in the Northeast and Northwest states,” said David Arbo, one of the owners of Covington Brewhouse. “The South tends to lag behind in trends that flourish in other parts of the country. We are just now at a point where places like Colorado, California and the Northeast have been for decades.”
The interesting article interviews local brewing entrepreneurs and brand brewhouses like NOLA Brewing. The groups convey stories that range from just convincing local landlords to invest in indie brewing ideas to the longstanding state laws that dictate how breweries can distribute product to the masses (i.e., the three-tier system).
“Finding the right amount of space and an understanding landlord can be a struggle for smaller brewers who are just starting out,” [Wood] said. “It took us more than a year to find a space that fit our needs because we had to find a landlord willing to subdivide their property. Warehouse owners don’t normally want to do that.”