Natchez is known worldwide for its beautiful homes and deep rich Southern history. The husband and wife team of Pat and Lisa Miller are hoping their new brewery, Natchez Brewing Company, will give the city’s tourists and locals a chance to try their latest beer creations. Housed in downtown Natchez, the brewery features bi-weekly tours and live music, as well an opportunity to sample the delicious beer Pat has been brewing. Lisa Miller took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few of our questions about Natchez Brewing Company.
NATALIE LONG: How did you become a beer fan? What made you decide to brew your own beer?
LISA MILLER: While living in Asheville, NC, we fell in love with craft beer and the craft beer culture. That inspired Pat to start brewing his own.
NL: How did y’all meet, and how has working together helped make your business what it is now? How do y’all delegate the responsibilities of running and brewing your own beer, as well as operating the brewery?
LM: We met in 1998 while Pat lived in D.C. and I lived in England. We dated briefly long distance, lost touch with each other, and then we reconnected in 2010 via Facebook. Working together has been challenging — spending 24 hours a day with your spouse is interesting to say the least, but we both have set tasks where our own knowledge and backgrounds come into play. I’m in the “running the business” side of things, and Pat focuses on the brewing.
NL: Of all the places to go open a brewery, why did you choose Natchez?
LM: We moved to Natchez to be close to family, and, after living in Asheville, we noticed a huge hole where craft beer used to be in our lives. At that time in 2012, there was only one brewery in Mississippi, which was Lazy Magnolia, so we saw there was potential for more in the state. We knew we had to start small and grow organically since we didn’t have a large sum of money or investors to start big right away. We wanted to grow with demand and let the market dictate where we went.
NL: How many beers do you have now, and how did you come up with these different styles of beers?
LM: We have two year-round beers, our Bluff City Blonde and ALT-ered State German Altbier. We also have three different IPAs that rotate throughout the year and a Berliner Weisse, a coffee porter and a stout, that we also rotate based on the season. Pat also has a passion for sour and barrel aged beers. We currently have Cronyism, a golden sour ale fermented and aged in cabernet sauvignon barrels, which we acquired from the Biltmore Estate’s Winery in Asheville. Cronyism is the second of our ‘Mississippi Wild Ale Series’ and is available in 500 ml bottles. We like to keep the first two beers year-round for great go-to beers, while the seasonal beers we like to keep fresh and get people excited for when they are re-released. The sours and barrel aged beers are just us sharing our passion for a fun and diverse side of where beer can go.
NL: Tell us about your new brewery in Natchez.
LM: We are in the middle of the expansion phase of our business. We have reached maximum capacity at our current location and have decided to upgrade from 100-gallon batches to 1000-gallon batches. We plan to continue to distribute throughout the state of Mississippi, including the places we are currently unable to reach due to our capacity, as well as Louisiana and Tennessee.
The new location is still in downtown Natchez, which was very important to us. We are about 4 blocks from the current brewery in an up-and-coming
rea, which includes two very popular locations, Steampunk Coffee Roasters and Smoot’s Grocery, a fantastic juke joint. Our new building has great character, and we hope to bring out the charm and feels just as we did with our current location.
Visit Natchez Brewing Company for a taste of their creations by participating in a tour on Thursdays from 12-3:30 pm or Saturdays from 12-5:30 pm. Check their website, natchezbrew.com, or Facebook page, /natchezbrew, for updates
on their schedule and pricing.