Craft Beer Craze Finally Hits the South

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Lazy Magnolia’s amber-colored Timber Beast IPA is one of the first craft beers produced in Mississippi since the state loosened its liquor laws.

For a century, Mississippi and other Southern states had Prohibition-era laws on the books that kept alcohol-by-volume (ABV) levels so low that many craft breweries were prevented from setting up shop.

When Mark Henderson and his wife Leslie founded Lazy Magnolia in 2003, it was the first brewery to open in Mississippi since 1907. And it was the state’s only brewery until the laws changed nine years later.

“We got started and it was all very challenging,” said Henderson, who could only make and distribute beer below 6% ABV. This meant no gourmet Belgian ales, IPAs, or barrel-aged beers, which are all made with more alcohol (and are often how a brewery is judged by connoisseurs).

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