It might be fall according to the calendar, but it’s still summertime here in South Mississippi.It’s not yet time for big, malty beers full of robust flavors and warming alcohol. We’re still in the golden days, the halcyon days, the days of sitting on the porch by the water enjoying the last rays of the setting sun. And if you’re anything like me, you want a crisp, refreshing beer in your hand while you do it. Abita 30-90 is that beer. It’s a “golden lager” that slides right into that gap between full-bodied fall and effervescent summer.
Southern Prohibition Brewing also began with a home brewer, Quinby Chunn, who grew up in Texas and followed his parents, David and Diana Chunn, to Hattiesburg.
Emily Curry, the company’s sales and marketing coordinator, said Quinby Chunn fell in love with homebrewing.
Employees maneuver forklifts around the climate-controlled warehouses, where it looks like children have been building really tall box forts out of colorful cardboard. And come spring, there will be even more room to make really tall stacks.
The United State’s beer market saw $109.5 billion in overall sales in 2015 (a growth of 0.2 percent over 2014). Hattiesburg and the Greater Pine Belt area are doing their part to keep those numbers on the up and up.
Long gone are the days when Stokes Distributing was working out of an an old house behind Economy Supply in Downtown Hattiesburg. During that time Stokes was distributing about 60 different packages from five suppliers. Today, their inventory consists of approximately 1,000 different brands and packages from 60 different suppliers.
Stokes also has other locations in Laurel, Natchez and McComb.
The Pine Belt beer scene has been active in Hattiesburg and Laurel, not only because of the number of drinking-age customers around the community colleges and universities in the area.
The recent establishment of successful microbreweries has pushed the social aspect of drinking beer to the spotlight in local restaurants and taverns. Slowboat Brewing of Laurel and Southern Prohibition Brewing Company of Hattiesburg have reached customers throughout Mississippi and beyond its borders.
On Saturday, June 11, Downtown Hattiesburg will host brewery representatives from throughout Mississippi, the South and even from across the United States.
“The Hattiesburg Craft Beer Festival showcases Hattiesburg, and especially Downtown, as a hot spot for the craft beer movement,” said Andrea Saffle, director of the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association. “Festival attendees can enjoy downtown before and after the event, and also meet many of our downtown partners inside the event as well.”