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Let’s talk about your beer for a bit; I know that you have introduced four of them on your video (see below). Tell us a bit about them?
Lucas: Absolutely, our first beer and our staple is our maple and brown sugar oatmeal stout. We thought of adding that in there one day and started playing with recipes and took it down and won a competition with it. It turned out to be a really good beer. You don’t get as much sweetness as people think when you say that because we actually put the maple and brown sugar in the bowl so most of it ferments out, so you get a little bit of sweetness but you get a lot of additional flavor out of it.
Chip: That one is the Flare Incident.
Lucas: On top of that we have our Ballistic Blonde which is a Belgian style blonde. It is a very simple beer but we stay slightly true to form with the Belgian style but we added more hops to it because we love hops and it was just not hoppy enough. It does have some fruity notes, the yeast gives off some nice esters. We have our Lizard Tail Pale Ale which was kind of an accident one day, but it turned out really well. It is dry hopped, again we love hops so we use them more than we should. Then there is our Hop Fiasco that has been evolving ever since we have started it. The reason we call it the Hop Fiasco is because we dumped over half a pound of hops in a five gallon batch. It was a little intense for what we wanted so we backed it off, we changed up the hop schedule a little bit, and it has gotten to be a really, really good beer.
What is on the tap for future styles?
Lucas: We are playing with a lot of things, of course seasonals, we have an Octoberfest, we have an amber that was designed by Brandon Blacklidge our R&D manager. It was his first designed beer and it came out extremely well. The boy has the best palette I have ever been around when it comes to beer tasting. He has come a long way with his recipe formulation. Saisons, I’ve got one sitting right now that we are messing with. That one is going to be something that will constantly change. Of course we eventually want to get in to doing sours and all the weird, funky stuff, because we love it and there is not one style that we all enjoy so much that we don’t want to drink anything else. So we want to play with everything.
Chip: We also did some experimenting with the holiday porter which had…
Lucas: ...vanilla, fig, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, it was a smorgasbord of holiday spices.
How has the reception been with people in the area in regards to the beer?
Lucas: Very positive. As a brewer it makes you feel better than nothing else when you see somebody and you know by looking at them that they have never tried anything unique and they drink it and they love it. We had such a good reception for that stout because most people down here when they think of stout they only think of Guinness at best. Guinness is just not for everybody, so when they drink ours they are really surprised and you can see it in their face. They are not used to something like that so we have had an extremely good reception and I hope it keeps up that way.
Any particular style a favorite of yours?
Lucas: I’m typically a stout guy, I love oatmeal stouts , that is why we have one on there, but I don’t stick to one thing on any evening so that is kind of hard to say. I just love beer.
Chip: I tend to go either one of two ways, I like hops a lot so I like stong pale ales and hoppy IPAs, but also there are times that I prefer a smooth creamy porter or stout. It kind of depends on what mood I am in.
Tell us a bit about why you chose Kickstarter for the Lucky Town Brewery project?
Chip: We didn’t know about Kickstarter for awhile until after we started the business. We actually saw another brewery that was starting up use it which was Wilderness Brewing, which is Mike and Nate out of Kansas City, Missouri, so I gave them a call and we talked and about what our goals were and what we were trying to do. I asked him how was it and how was the reception because they were successful in their Kickstarter project. I brought it to the team and said that I think this would be a really good idea for us to get people involved not only on the startup side of it, from the ground up, but also because it attracts people that want to be involved but they don’t have the means to drop a big investment in a new company. It kind of gives them a little bit of pride and passion, especially for local people.
Lucas: It gets our name out there and like Chip said, it allows people to be a part of something for very little investment. It helps us in several ways, for the first phase of our business plan it allows us to get a little starter with minimal capital risk on our part. It will jump start us, I guess kickstart just like the website is called. It helps us get involved with people that want to be involved with the brewery. We have met so many people that want to be supportive of this since we have started so from every aspect this has been helpful to us.
What do you see as your projected output?
Lucas: We would like to start, and this is part of the plan now, we are projecting to start with a 15 barrel system. That allows us to not be too big starting off, but we can also add larger fermenters and upscale our output without completely changing the brewhouse size. We don’t want to go any smaller than that because we feel that with the market we are sitting in we will overrun the system very quickly. It may be a little larger, but I doubt it. I think 15 barrels is our target size to start off with.
Will you be distributing in bottles, cans?
Chip: Starting out we will be on draft and only on tap. It will be distributed throughout the central Mississippi region. In Mississippi, the law requires that all manufactured beer from a production brewery must be distributed by a distributor so we won’t be able to self-distribute anything and we also cannot have a taproom right now.
Lucas: Yes, that is another thing that hasn’t even attempted to be changed yet, but we would like to make a good business case to some of the legislature around here to see if we can’t do something about that. No one has tried to change that because we only have one brewery and they are kind of located out in the country so a taproom is really not that enticing for them, but we have gone places, I have personally visited Yazoo Brewing in Nashville and you can sit on their front porch and drink in the afternoon and take a tour which is just awesome. It is a great part of the community, so through this year we are going to see if we can get the legislature on our side to change that law for next year hopefully, or at least get it brought up because that will influence us when we go straight to brick and mortar on where we put the brewery. There is no sense in getting in the middle of Jackson if we can’t have a taproom. It is not going to be that conducive to us.
What can folks expect from Lucky Town Brewing in 2012?
Lucas: We should have two styles flowing by the end of this year.
Do you plan on having a grand opening, or is that too far down the road?
Lucas: We will when we get to that point.
That wraps up our interview with Lucky Town Brewing. A big thanks to Chip and Lucas for taking the time to talk with us.
Check out their Kickstarter project and chip in a few bucks to help make a better beer world.
For more information on Lucky Town Brewing check out their website, facebook page, follow them on twitter or see what they are enjoying on Untappd.
Want to help change the beer laws in Mississippi? Go check out the efforts of Raise Your Pints, or if you are in Mississippi contact your local state representatives and state senators.