Craft beer company may move 15 miles to Jackson

38ace4697ce7ed8858e62a3e04091193The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A craft beer company now based in Gluckstadt and getting its beer brewed under contract has an option to buy a former Greyhound bus service building in Jackson for its own brewery.

Lucky Town Brewing Co. would be the first microbrewery in Jackson, which recently adopted a zoning ordinance for small-scale breweries producing up to 5,000 barrels a year for wholesale distribution.

“Lucky Town is going to be our test case, so to speak,” zoning administrator Ester Ainsworth told The Clarion-Ledger (http://on.thec-l.com/12XuoO3).

The option is contingent on a zoning variance and use permit from the city because Lucky Town’s site would be within 1,000 of an area zoned for homes, company co-founder Chip Jones said.

Back Forty Beer Co. in Alabama now brews beer under contract for Lucky Town. Those beers are the Belgian-style blonde ale Ballistic Blonde, an oatmeal stout called The Flare Incident and Lucky Town Pub Ale, an English mild style.

The bus barn’s high ceilings are good for microbrewing, Jones said.

“All of our equipment is mainly vertical,” Jones said. “And when we grow, we’ll be growing vertically. … We’ll order taller tanks. That made a big difference.” The space is plentiful for the next four to five years, and the 1.7-acre lot “gives us room to expand for as large as we’re ever going to get, probably.”

His plans call for a microbrewery, a tasting area, a retail area for merchandise such as shirts and glasses, an office area and warehouse space for brewing and inventory.

Gluckstadt is in Madison County about 15 miles from Jackson.

Lucky Town didn’t have a specific area in mind when the search began several months back. But Midtown’s unique history of industrial development on one end, transitioning to retail and residential on the other was a draw, Jones said.

Midtown’s niche as a creative economy pilot with a mix of businesses, artists, creative manufacturing and entrepreneurs, makes a microbrewery a good fit, several people said.

“I think it’s going to be a great injection of energy that will support all of the other efforts relating to business growth that we have going on,” said Midtown Partners creative economies coordinator Whitney Grant.

There are few manufacturers in the area so far, and the Business Association of Midtown welcomes the brewery, association president Andy Hilton said. Beer wouldn’t be sold there, only made, he said — and its presence may attract other businesses, he said.

State tourism director Malcolm White said, “It’s exactly the kind of creative industry that we hope to attract, to mix in with the residential, the arts, the quality of life, the revitalization of a neighborhood.”

Midtown Neighborhood Association president Jennifer West said after sit-down meetings with brewery founders, residents are open to Lucky Town coming in and revitalizing its industrial area. While there are several nearby businesses, “a lot of it is abandoned on that street, and to bring in something that will benefit, bring more jobs, more economy into the neighborhood, we welcome that.”

  • Beauregard Rippy

    WHERE IS IT?