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Thursday, February 14th 2013

Q & A with Southern Prohibition (The First Craft Brewery to Can their beer in Mississippi)

Well, another state has joined the canned beer revolution. This time its Mississippi in the form of a brand new brewery set to begin canning in a couple months. Please welcome Southern Prohibition Brewing Company of Hattiesburg, MS. We took some time find out more about this brewery by throwing a ton of questions at Emily Curry, the brewery's sales guru. Cheers Emily, we can't wait to crack open a can of craft beer from the Magnolia State! 

(CC) What is the story behind Southern Prohibition Brewing? 

(SP) Southern Prohibition was founded at Keg and Barrel, Hattiesburg's local BrewPub (the only brewpub in MS) in 2008, making small batches of beer in a 5 bbl system and selling pints of them in the restaurant. You may know that our beer law changed on July 1, 2012, thanks to the organization, Raise Your Pints--raising the ABW from 5% to 8%. This was also the day John Neal and Quinby Chunn announced they would go in to business together. They began renovating the 1940's furniture warehouse owned by Quinby to house their brewery soon after.

(CC) Where does the name come from?

(SP) The name was made up by John Neal, owner of K&B and now SoProBrewCo. We all know the history of the US prohibition, but many people don't know that prohibition in MS didn't end until well into the 1960's. It took a lot of time and change for Mississippians to sit down and enjoy an “adult beverage”. Mississippi History is important to us here at Southern Prohibition, and our name should reflect that. (Not to mention it's a really awesome name)

(CC) Which of your beers will be available in cans?

(SP) All of them! We are canning and kegging only!

Quinby and their brewer, Benjamin Green, are both passionate and skilled brewers, and have put out some extraordinary beers at the Keg and Barrel before the expansion was underway.

Our 2 flagships are:

Devil's Harvest Extra Pale Ale

Suzy B Blonde Ale

Our seasonal is:

Deez Melons Watermelon Wheat (made with real watermelon!)

In the fall we will be releasing our next seasonal which will be “Hipster Breakfast” an Oatmeal Coffee Stout

(CC) What led to the decision to can your beer? 

(SP) Canning just makes a lot of sense! You've said it yourself at Craftcans.com, they are easier to transport, stock, open and quicker to chill. You aren't going to have glass all over the kitchen floor when Jimmy comes over and drops his beer. They preserve the beer better, being air tight and resilient against the light. You can take them to the pool, beach, park and festivals (unlike glass bottles). Cans are recyclable everywhere, and we encourage people to do so.

And I have to say it to at least you, Russ, having worked in restaurants and bars for years, lifting a 50 gallon garbage bag full of glass bottles was never the greatest part of my night.

(CC) What type of canning line will you be using?

(SP) We will be using the MC-250 by Wild Goose Canning. It's a quad-fill, two tower automated canning line. Filling 36-40 cans per minute.

(CC) Which format will you being using for your packaging?

(SP) 4-packs of 16 oz. cans

(CC) Who is doing the design work for the cans? 

(SP) Our designer is Rodney Richardson, founder of RARE Design in Hattiesburg, MS. 

(CC) What is the craft beer scene like in Mississippi? Hattiesburg?

(SP) If you would have asked me that a year ago, you would have been given a sob story like no other, but since the law changed on July 1, 2012 (RaiseYourPints.com), things have changed. When we rose from 5% ABW to 8% ABW, 75 beers became available to MS, and only grew from there. With the new craft beer slowly moving in to the bars, restaurants and shops around MS, they have seen an increase in craft beer sales. The scene is growing and fantastic now, we are seeing beer clubs pop up all over. More tastings and pairings now that we have so many breweries coming up in MS.

Lazy Magnolia (first one since 2003) in Kiln, MS

Since the passing of the Craft Beer Law:

Crooked Letter in Ocean Springs, MS

Lucky Town in Gluckstadt, MS

Gordon Creek in Hattiesburg, MS

Keg and Barrel in Hattiesburg has an amazing selection, and is one of Draft Magazine's Top 100 Best Beer Bars in America in 2010 and 2011.

All over the state, we are getting more Sierra Nevada and Abita selections- Napa Smith, NOLA, Goose Island, Yazoo, Diamond Bear and on and on are moving their product in to MS.

(CC) When and where will cans of Southern Prohibition's beers be sold?

(SP) April 15, 2013 is the “release date” as of now, but that could be off a few days or a week either way depending on how everything goes. We will be releasing in Hattiesburg first and almost simultaneously in Jackson, MS. Spreading through MS and into LA as we can. We plan on being throughout the Southeastern US within the next few years. We will be updating everyone on our Facebook and Twitter (@SoProBrewCo) as we get closer to the big day, and when our website is up and running, we will list all events and places to purchase our craft beer.

(CC) Will you be canning additional seasonal beers in the future?

(SP) Hipster Breakfast, mentioned earlier. Ben has so many exciting recipes up his sleeve, you'll be seeing new things over time.

(CC) Any chance you'll be at the AmeriCAN Canned Craft Beer Festival, Burning Can, or CANFEST this year?

(SP) We wish! This year, we will be focusing on getting our beer on the market to the masses, maybe in a year or two.

(CC) What is something most people may not know about Southern Prohibition Brewing, but should?

(SP) We are proud supporters of changing beer laws in MS! The Craft Beer Law, raising the ABW was a huge step in the right direction. Now we have the Homebrew bill on the table, and the more people that express support for the passing is the better. Make your voice heard, Mississippi.

We hope our brewery, located in the ever growing downtown Hattiesburg, will bring tourists and beer lovers from all over to tour our brewery and taste our beer. We will let people know as soon as our brewery is ready and safe to tour, and we can't wait to show off.

Mississippi is catching up, y'all! Watch us closely!

Posted by Russ