Local brewery expanding into downtown Hattiesburg

Two beers currently being brewed at Southern Prohibition Brewing Company
Two beers currently being brewed at Southern Prohibition Brewing Company

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg's Keg and Barrel celebrated a milestone in the Mississippi brewing profession Sunday.

"We are celebrating high gravity, gourmet beer here in Mississippi," explained Butch Bailey, president of Raise Your Pints.

With Mississippi law now allowing beers up to 8% alcohol content and brewerys to serve beer samples during tours, it was a step in the right direction for one local brewery. Southern Prohibition Brewing Company, located in the Keg and Barrel, has been brewing locally crafted beers since 2008.

"We've been experimenting at the keg for several years now and we think we've come up with some solid products," said John Neal, owner of the Keg and Barrel.

With demand outgrowing space in the current brewery, it was time for an expansion. So in partnership with Quinby Chunn, a former brewer at Real Ale in Austin, Texas, it was announced Sunday that Southern Prohibition would be stepping up production and expanding to Quinbys warehouse building on 304 East 2nd Street in downtown Hattiesburg.

"Ben has been doing a tremendous job brewing over there. And he has come up with some really bold and aggressive beers. And they have a great culture there. And a great name. It seems like a perfect fit for me and for John," said Quinby.

What was originally built as a furniture store in the 1940's, will now be the home of this local brewery come early 2013. In an area that is in the process of revitalization, the hope is to bring more people to the area.

"A bunch of people are coming to tour the brewery. I can't put my finger on a specific amount. But an increase in the amount of traffic in downtown and that's wonderful for the merchants and restaurants. And we are glad to be a part of that," explained Neal.

And while the number of beers with stick around 3 to 4 different types, the production of these beers will increase folds.

"We are going to raise our capacity from less than a barrel, to a 25 barrel system," said Neal.

This may just mean you'll see these beers at more than just the Keg and Barrel.

"Initially considering kegging, bottling in 750 ml bottles. Doing specialty beers. Then canning our basic beers. That way you can go to the pool, to the beach, it's a little better. Better for the environment," explained Neal.