Microbreweries find success in Mississippi

Microbreweries find success in Mississippi

(WMC-TV)  – On July 1, state laws changed allowing higher gravity beers, or craft beers to be sold in Mississippi.

The move to bring in beers with higher alcohol volumes was partially due to demand, but also to boost the economy.

In just the first day of the beer law change, Hops and Habanas in Madison saw their business boom.

Rick Miles, the store's owner, said, "We had seven times our normal volume of customers come through the door."

With state lawmakers opening the door for beers with up to 8% alcohol weight and 10% alcohol volume, the varieties available are expanding, causing a buzz among beer connoisseurs.

The extra business means more tax revenues.

"Our sales were up four times the past year which means four times the sales tax generated for the state of Mississippi," said Miles.

Lazy Magnolia in Kiln, Mississippi's only brewery, is now expanding their business and hiring more employees.

Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company Brand Manager, Will Mestayer said, "I think it's going to allow us to keep a lot of those funds in Mississippi, it's going to allow more retail businesses to open up that can really cater directly towards craft beer."

Members of Raise Your Pints, the grassroots group that helped change the law, say the beer tax benefits could be substantial. Revenues other states were benefiting from in the past.

"Beers we were driving out of state spending money in Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee to get, now we're going to be able to buy them here in Mississippi spend that money at a Mississippi small business, and they will get the tax revenue for it," said Vice President of Raise Your Pints, Craig Hendry.

There's even talk of economic development on the horizon.

"We're going to see a boom of new businesses here in the next 3 to 5 years, before if you wanted to open a brewery you'd skip Mississippi and go somewhere else," Hendry said.

Store owner Rick Miles said, "There's actually a few brewing companies looking at the Jackson area to open up and are going through the process with the department of revenue, one is Luckytown Brewing."

Raise Your Pints hopes to keep the momentum going, holding craft beer events the last week of July on the heels of a small change in a beer law, with endless economic potential.

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