Brewhaha: A spirited new Louisiana law

by Heather Miller

A new law passed during the recent legislative session was crafted to help the Louisiana Spirits rum distillery under construction near I-10 in Lacassine, but the legislation also opens up opportunities for micro-breweries and other booze businesses statewide. When Louisiana's new rum distillery opens at the end of this year, tourists will be able to purchase rum directly from the producer thanks to a new law enacted this year.

State Sen. Dan Morrish, R-Jennings, sponsored the legislation on behalf of Louisiana Spirits, a rum distillery under construction near I-10 in Lacassine, but the law will also open up opportunities for other booze businesses statewide.

The Brewhaha blog is back this week as part of as part of The Independent's commitment to support EatLafayette and encourage local flavor.

Every Friday The INDsider will post fun facts, trivia and more under its Brewhaha blog. Post your best beer responses under the Brewhaha blog on our website, and we'll choose one commenter per week to receive a 12-pack of Bud Light Platinum courtesy of Schilling Distributing.

The first reader to correctly answer the weekly trivia questions is not an automatic winner, so keep the beer thoughts pouring from the tap and continue the conversation. Brewhaha is meant to be a dialogue - completely dedicated to all things booze.

Commenters must be registered with our website to post a response. Click here to sign up for The INDsider and a chance to win.

The Times-Picayune reports that before Morrish's bill passed, distilleries were required to sell their products through wholesale distributors rather than allow visitors to purchase the booze directly from the distillery.

Parish Brewing of Broussard owner Andrew Godley tells The Times-Pic that breweries are still bound to the old law, but the widespread support the legislation received during session gives Godley hope for a friendlier beer future in Louisiana:
Godley thinks one of the main reasons breweries haven't pushed for the change in legislation is the lack of a large micro-brewing industry in Louisiana.

"It takes quite a bit of people to force something to move," he added. "There's no push for it. You can't have legislative change without a group of people working for change."

Trey Litel, a founder of Louisiana Spirits, used to work for Bacardi. He and his brother got the idea to open a distillery in Louisiana because the state has a history of producing large amounts of sugar cane, a main ingredient in rum. Two years ago, after visiting other distilleries and researching the business, they moved forward with their plans. Louisiana Spirits is in the process of creating its rum recipe, which will include local sugar cane and unique ingredients. The company hopes to produce dark and light rum by the end of 2012.

Litel said Senate Bill 64 will allow him to develop his distillery into a tourist destination and enable the Louisiana native to give something back.

Others expect to see the impact of the new legislation as well. Jedd Haas has plans to open a micro-distillery in New Orleans, making whiskey and absinthe. He decided to try to start a distillery after seeing several stories about similar ventures. His distillery will be under the brand Atelier Vie, which recently received its state permit.
Read more on the new law and its impact here.

Brewhaha Trivia:
-What's the largest brewery in the United States? Where is it located?
-What's the largest brewery in Louisiana? Where is it located and how many states are said to sell this brewery's beer?

Brewhaha Fun Fact:
-In Fairbanks, Ark., serving alcoholic beverages to moose is illegal.