By this time next year, Lucky Town Brewing Co. should have a permanent home.
Co-founder Chip Jones and his partners have bought a building on North Mill Street in the Midtown area of Jackson. It will serve as the brewery’s first brick and mortar presence since it started operation in 2011. The brewery started in Gluckstadt, and currently contracts with Alabama-based Back 40 Beer Co. to produce its beer.
“We started looking for a place about four months ago,” Jones said in an interview Monday afternoon. “There were a lot of factors, but a lot of it came down to price and where we see the community going in the future.”
The building on a 1.7-acre lot met the specs, and provides room for plenty of expansion. Jones said Lucky Town has applied for a zoning variance and use permit. A public hearing before Jackson’s Planning and Development board to consider the request is set for Sept. 25. If that body recommends approval of the request, it will go before the Jackson City Council in late October. If the variance gains final approval there, it will take effect in 30 days.
If that timetable is followed, construction could begin on Lucky Town’s new building around Thanksgiving, Jones said, and would last until late spring or early summer 2014, when production would start. Construction will include renovating the building to house brewing equipment, carve out office space and create tasting areas. “Most of the work will be on the inside,” Jones said.
Lucky Town is one of the beneficiaries of the modernization of Mississippi’s beer laws, starting with legislation that raised the cap on the alcohol content in beer, then bills that legalized home brewing and allowed existing commercial brewers to offer samples on site. Those changes have done a lot, Jones said, to creating a legal and cultural atmosphere that’s brewery-friendly. That was a big reason why Lucky Town needed a home, Jones said.
Lucky Town can be had at 95 pubs and restaurants across Mississippi. The new space will allow for an initial brewing capacity of 3,800 barrels a year, which will allow distribution to grow once that level of production is reached. Currently, Back 40’s brewing contract Lucky Town calls for about 500 barrels a year, Jones said.
“And I don’t think we’ll have to expand the building for another four to five years because with existing space I think we could max out around 10 to 12 thousand barrels a year,” Jones said.