By LISA MONTI
Mississippi’s newest craft beer maker is about to start production in its new facility, a converted warehouse on Bohn Street in Biloxi.
Biloxi Brewing Co. has been contracting with Lazy Magnolia Brewing Co., the oldest beer maker in the state, to make its products at the facility in Kiln. Production began in April 2015. Biloxi Brewing was founded in September 2014.
Soon, the four owners will start operations in their new Biloxi plant. “We began working in July after we closed on the building and have been working on it ever since,” said Carlon Broome, the chief marketing officer of Biloxi Brewing and a retired photographer who owned a studio in Biloxi.
Biloxi Brewing has been producing 1,200 barrels a year at Lazy Magnolia but, Broome said, “with our new facility the goal is about 2,400 barrels a year.”
Broome and the other three owners are all former backyard brewers with varying professional backgrounds. “We’ve been brewing beer for a number of years. That’s how we got together,” he said. “We enjoyed home brewing so much we didn’t want to give up the hobby.”
Donny Richards, the chief financial officer, is employed at Northrop Grumman after a career in the military in electronics and IT. Mark Murray, the chief operating officer, is an MRI tech at Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans. Mark Cowley, the CEO, is a retired Air Force meteorologist and civilian contractor at Keesler Air Force Base.
Titles aside, Broome said, their duties are intermingled and the partners tend to do whatever needs to be done to make and sell the five beers Biloxi Brewing has on the market.
“Our philosophy is Craft Beer for the Coastal Life. That’s our ultimate goal. Everything we brew is with the coastal lifestyle in mind,” Broome said.
Translation: “flip flops, sand between your toes, swimming, everything very laid back,” said Broome.
Richards said the best-selling beer is Biloxi Beach Blonde, “our take on a light and refreshing beer” especially popular during the coast’s scorching summers. “A great quaffing beer, subtle and delicate- perfect for a southern summer thirst,” according to the company.
Black Gold, a foreign extra stout, is popular during winter but it’s sold year-round. Its “crisp yet restrained bitterness rewards the drinker with a velvety smooth sensation on the palate.”
Salty Dog is a German style unfiltered wheat beer with sea salt and coriander described as “lightly hopped, just enough to offset the mild sweetness.”
“Our newest is Biloxi Pale Ale, another beer very popular in summertime,” Richards said. The beer is a people’s choice among several offerings at Top of the Hops 2016. “Dry hopped with Citra, this really brings out the grapefruit notes in both the aroma and the flavor profile,” according to the official description.
All five beers are distributed throughout Mississippi and along the Interstate 12 corridor west to Denham Springs, La. “In the future we are going into other areas of Louisiana and we are also looking at Alabama and possibly Georgia,” Richards said.
The Biloxi Brewing beer makes under Lazy Magnolia was packaged in bottles and kegs but in the new facility it will be sold in cans and kegs. “Cans fit better in the coastal life,” said Cowley, at the beach, around the pool or on a boat.
Broome and Cowley are the only full-time employees now but Broome said eventually the brewery may have as many as 10 employees, depending on the range of the distribution area and any expansion of the production facility.
“We are looking at expanding in three years if we continue our rate of growth,” Broome said. After Lazy Magnolia opened more than 10 years ago, the rules in the state have made beer making somewhat easier, he said. “Hopefully we will continue to see change that’s beneficial to us and the economy in the state.”