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Natchez Brewing Company debuts new brew

Fat Mama’s Tamales employee Caroline Golden pours Natchez Brewing Company’s Bluff City Blonde during the company’s launch party for the beer that is on tap at Fat Mama’s. The owners of Natchez Brewing, the first and only craft brewery in Natchez, Patrick and Lisa Miller are making their beer at Crooked Letters in Ocean Springs, Miss. while they wait for the necessary brewing equipment to arrive. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Fat Mama’s Tamales employee Caroline Golden pours Natchez Brewing Company’s Bluff City Blonde during the company’s launch party for the beer that is on tap at Fat Mama’s. The owners of Natchez Brewing, the first and only craft brewery in Natchez, Patrick and Lisa Miller are making their beer at Crooked Letters in Ocean Springs, Miss. while they wait for the necessary brewing equipment to arrive. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — For husband-and-wife team of Patrick and Lisa Miller, brewing is more than just a business – it’s a labor of love.

That’s evident in the way the owners of Natchez Brewing Co., the first and only craft brewery in Natchez, talk about craft beer – and not just their own.

“We tend to follow a lot of other breweries,” Lisa said. “We have a passion for this.”

“It all comes down to flavor and variety,” said Pat, a Natchez native. “We put everything we have into this.”

The public has invested much in the project, too, with both support and funding – particularly the business’s fund-raising campaign on kickstarter.com last spring.

The Millers want the public to love small-batch beers as much as they do. Toward that end, they held a launch of their first beer, Bluff City Blonde, Wednesday at Fat Mama’s Tamales.

Bluff City Blonde was on tap at Fat Mama’s starting at 11 a.m. But the Millers and representatives of Southwest Distributors were at the restaurant at 5:30 p.m. with giveaways and T-shirts were for sale.

When the two fell in love, Lisa also fell in love with craft beer. The two were first introduced in 1998 in her native England while Pat was serving in the Marines.

They lost touch over the years but were reacquainted in 2010. Two years later, Lisa moved to Asheville, N.C., to be closer to Pat, who by then was experimenting with homebrewing .

The two set the bar high for their recipes.

“I wanted to create a beer that my mother would enjoy,” Pat said, adding “we are limited only by our imagination.”

Right now, Bluff City Blonde is being made at Crooked Letters, a small brewery on the Gulf Coast. That’s because some necessary equipment has not yet arrived at Natchez Brewing.

The Millers’ goals include introducing new beers and opening the brewery’s doors to the public for tours and beer tasting events by the end of this month.

Another goal is to get more employees in place.

The growing number of small breweries in Mississippi is starting to have a positive economic impact, Pat said.

“We have a few people working part time helping us get our business off the ground,” Pat said. “We want to hire two people full time and several part time.”

Meanwhile, Pat said he will continue to work as a mechanic until Natchez Brewing takes off. After all, the Millers also have three daughters to support, ages 2, 9 and 12.

Craft breweries have a history of working with their local communities, using the public’s feedback to perfect recipes and holding events. And Natchez Brewing is no exception, Pat said.

“We’re excited about working with the community as we grow,” he said. “We’re so thankful to have the community’s support.”

 

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