Written by Nora McGunnigle for bestofneworleans.com
Louisiana was once known as the beer capital of the South, but it’s now better known for go-cups and legal drinking on the street. While Louisiana ranks 11th in the country for beer consumption per capita, it’s 47th in number of breweries. The state only had six production breweries and two operational brewpubs at the end of 2012, but 2013 may see the opening of at least five more breweries and a new brewpub.
Josh and Jamie Erickson began pursuing their dream of opening a brewery back in 2010 after brewing at home for several years while raising a family of four boys. “Compared to many other states, we are behind when it comes to the number of craft breweries in existence, so we wanted to be a part of changing that here, helping the Louisiana craft beer scene grow,” Josh says. The Ericksons created their flagship beers, Voo Ka Ray IPA and Old 504 coffee-infused vanilla robust porter, and acquired a small industrial space in Mandeville to brew commercially. Last month, the Ericksons’ Chafunkta Brewing Company was approved by the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) to begin brewing and selling its beer commercially.
When San Diego transplant Scott Wood met Louisiana native Lindsay Hellwig in New Orleans, not only did they begin a family, but also a craft beer partnership called The Courtyard Brewery that would merge West Coast craft beer sensibilities with the rich culture of Louisiana and New Orleans. Wood’s great-uncle was a pre-Prohibition commercial brewer. “Brewing is in my genetic code,” he says. They’ve acquired brewing space in Bywater, and once the space has been configured for brewing and the equipment is in place, they hope to be licensed to brew and serve by the middle of the year.
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