Liquor store pays homage to former bar, brings selection of spirits to downtown

Published 11:00 am Saturday, September 25, 2021

NATCHEZ — Lindsey Callon remembers going to the Hallelujah bar in the Callon Petroleum Company office building with his grandfather. Now, Callon is co-owner in a new downtown liquor store that pays tribute to that gathering spot.

Hallelujah Wine and Spirits, located in the 100 block of Main St., is set to open Oct. 7. Callon is opening the business with partners Jim Smith, Bryant Pearson and Mark Brockway.

“When it was hopping, it was the place to be,” Callon said of the former bar. “It was a cool place in Natchez and it seemed like a good way to play off the name because people remember it.”

Callon and Smith said they independently thought about the idea of opening a liquor store on Main Street for a while. However, it was not until the COVID-19 pandemic started that Callon started to really consider it. 

Smith operated a retail store on Main Street and for years had people asking for the nearest liquor store. He approached the owners of the building around the same time as Callon with the idea to open a liquor store. 

“We think it is the best location in town,” Smith said. “When the hotels are full and boats are coming in, I think it will be a great location.” 

The store has more than just a choice location, it also will offer a wide selection of wine and liquor. In Mississippi, liquor stores are supplied by the Alcoholic Beverage Control warehouse in Jackson. 

Brockway started ordering products for the store months in advance. The store has slowly received shipments and filled the shelves of the store. While big names like Johnnie Walker, Jack Daniels and Barefoot can be found on the shelves, there are a wide variety of different brands. 

“The first day we did the order we had fun,” Brockway said. “We started ordering and got the basics out of the way first. When I did the ordering, I wanted to focus on having different drinks.”

Brockway worked for 20 years as a bartender and manager, formerly at Dunleith and now at Pearl Street Pasta, which helped him gain expertise about types of wine and cocktails.

“The idea was to have the best store in town and to have a wide variety,” Brockway said. “We took that to heart. If we can get our hands on it we will have it. We are limited on some things, but we can turn over a lot of stones and try to find stuff.” 

Pearson worked for 12 years with Brockway, mostly as a waiter for high end restaurants. He brings an expertise gained from working directly with customers and as a bartender.

“There are a lot of wines out on the shelves that are good for drinking by yourself, and others you can pair with food,” Pearson said. “That is where I come in. I have a lot of expertise in pairing food and wines together. For a small town, there are a lot of good bartenders here. “There are some ingredients here that I think bartenders will think ‘oh wow.’”’