Industry Tallies Toll on Craft Brewers

As the situation begins to stabilize in the Gulf Coast region after Hurricane Katrina, the brewing industry has begun to inquire about the health and safety of our industry brethren in the region.

ProBrewer has received many emails from site users asking about the whereabouts of various brewery staff and conditions of the breweries in the region.

The Brewer’s Association in Boulder Colorado also has received many inquiries and has begun posting updates on the association’s online Forum. Below are the current updates that the BA has received.

There are eighteen craft brewers in the region.

We will continue to add updates below as we receive them.

If you know of the whereabouts of any industry members from the region or the condition of any of the breweries, please contact me directly ( and I will forward to the BA.

Thanks to Pete Johnson and the rest of the BA for sharing this important information with us.


Cannon Brewpub / Mr. Jims
Power restored Sept. 1; bar open Sept. 1, no food until Health Dept inspects. Roof heavily damaged and AC system destroyed.

Montgomery Brewing Co
No damage; open for business.

Olde Auburn Ale House Brewery Restaurant
Auburn, AL
No damage; open for business

Olde Towne Brewing Co
Brewery Micro
Small amount of wind and structural damage. Open and brewing.


Coast Brewing / Beau Rivage Resort
(Updated 9/11) Water reportedly reached second floor – brewery is presumed destroyed. Condition of brewing equipment is unknown. Brewmaster Brian Bush checked in on 9/10 and is safe. See update from Brian in posting below.

Hal and Mals Restaurant and Brewery
Only minor damage.

Lazy Magnolia Brewing Co,
Evacuated safely. Brewery intact.
UPDATED INFO ON 9/14 See post below


Abita Brewing Co
Abita Springs
Reported damaged and without power, but still standing – staffers are safe. 6,000 barrels of beer are spoiling and will be lost.
UPDATED 9/14 – Brewery is up and running! See detailed post below.

Big Easy Brewing Co
UPDATED 10/2: From Frank W. Ballero, President of Big Easy Brewing: “Equipment and building was not damaged during
hurricanes Katrina or Rita. However, we lost our entire inventory of BIG
EASY and TIGER TOWN Beers due to the loss of power for several weeks.

We are not currently brewing. But, we hope to resume normal operations in
the near future. Meanwhile, we are looking for contract brewing companies
and distributors nation-wide to brew and distribute BIG EASY and TIGER TOWN beers.

Brewhouse Grill New Orleans
New Orleans
Still no contact

Cheetah Brewing LLC
Lake Charles
Still no contact

Crescent City Brewhouse
Brewery Brewpub
New Orleans
Owner Wolf Koehler checked in over the weekend. He is presently in Florida and reports that he and all employees are safe. He is eager to return to New Orleans and begin the rebuilding process.
UPDATED 9/13 See post below

Dixie Brewing Co Inc.
New Orleans
UPDATED 10/1 Sustained major water damage. See post below.

Gordon Biersch Brewery
New Orleans
From Head Brewer Gary Fritze: as of Thursday morning 9/1, brewery and restaurant are still dry, some broken windows, but no looting yet. All personnel evacuated safely.

Heiner Brau
UPDATED 9/12: See update below

Mardi Gras Meadery
Still no contact

Rikenjaks Brewery
Lake Charles
Still no contact

Zea Rotisserie and Brewery
UPDATED 10/2 Has reopened for buisness


  1. admin says

    We heard yesterday from Brian Bush, brewmaster at Coast Brewing Co. and Beau Rivage Resort.

    Brian fled to Atlanta and escaped the storm and reports that he is safe and sound.

    Here is what Brian passed onto us; “As you posted, the Beau Rivage was severely damaged. I have not been able to get any definitive information on the status of the equipment. Judging from the pics it is probably damaged as well. So no GABF entries this year! I had a tank of Am Dark lager (Gold medal last year) aging in Tennessee whisky barrel wood too… The brewery opened to the south, and was right on the water so I am sure it has an ocean view right now with air conditioning. It will be some time before anything on the coast gets back on line.”

    “I am returning to the area today (Saturday) to deal with my house which I think is still standing, but had flood damage from the storm surge. I will try to send an update later next week.”

    Thanks and good luck to Brian.

  2. admin says

    More from Wolf Koehler at Crescent City:
    “We went back on Sunday to check on our property and the brewhouse. Our house is slightly damaged by a tree resting on the back, the house won the contest…limbs are down everywhere, the fence collapsed, a roof leak and a bit of water. The city is very quiet, no people other than the helpers. The quarter is intact, the brewhouse suffered minor damage…we will reopen without great delay – once power is restored we spring into action..we will brew the first beer …Katrina Bock..keep your fingers crossed, we are waiting it out in Florida.”

  3. Sir Brewsalot says

    When I read this, I can’t help feeling completely helpless – like many others out there I’m sure. Yes, there are support efforts underway in the near term, but in time, what this entire region will need is economic revitalization.

    To this end, and when they are ready (and of course it may be quite a while until some are ready), can we, the craft beer industry do something as simple as hold our craft beer conference there? They would get our hotel business, our restaurant business, and of course our beer drinking business. I know it’s not like getting the Olympics or anything, but every bit helps.

    Just a thought.

  4. MikeRoy says

    I second Scott’s motion. Even though New Orleans held the CBF I think in 2003-4 I don’t recall which i think it would be a great idea to get it back there,afterall there’s no better convention city in the country than New Orleans. The next step I think is to contact the BA and see when and if that would be a possibility.

  5. admin says

    From Mark Henderson, Lazy Magnolia Brewing Co.:

    “Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company, although impacted by Hurricane Katrina, is undamaged. We have gotten power back on this week, and anticipate that we will be up and running in the next 7-10 days at full capacity.

    We did lose a lot of our coast accounts (approximately 80%) as most of them were located directly on the water. Our accounts that were impacted by the storm were largely reduced to rubble. We had in the weeks preceding the storm expanded into Hattiesburg MS. We had about 25 taps in the area, but Hattiesburg was also heavily impacted. We will be trying to make up the business by accelerating our expansion into Starkville and Oxford, MS.

    Please let people know that we are fine, and that the beer will continue to flow.”

  6. admin says

    Brewery is up and running

    Power, phones and internet are back up.

    From the brewery: “We were very fortunate to have escaped major damage from Hurricane Katrina as most others around the Abita Brewery did not. We thank our customers for their patience in these trying times.

    Abita would like to extend a special thank you to the relief team for promptly clearing the road to our brewery which had been blocked by fallen old-growth trees.

    As you know, Abita Beer is brewed using pristine water the flows deep below the earth’s surface. This world renowned water source has not, nor was it ever at risk of being compromised.

    A special thanks also goes out to the LLEE utility crew from Ashville, North Carolina and to CLECO for working so hard. We are so grateful to have both power and phones restored.

    Our prayers go out to all who have been affected by the storm. Our area is a beautiful one, where roots run deep and we know that it will rebuild stronger and better than ever.

    Abita employee update:

    “Kathy Tujuague has been located. She is ok and now back at work. Dennis Early has also been located and he is safe and sound in Connecticut. Richard Peterson is missing. If anyone knows where he is please contact us ASAP as we are very concerned and worried about his well-being.”

    “As mentioned above, the brewery has power. There was minor damage which is now being repaired. We expect to have the “cleanup process” complete this week and all employees are asked to report to work on Monday September 12th. If you are unable to do so we ask that you contact your supervisor at the brewery as soon as possible.”

    UPDATED 9/12

    From Mark Wilson at Abita Brewing Company:

    Hello Everyone
    We are back to work at Abita Brewing Co. in Louisiana. All of our employees are safe and back to the brewery. Some of our employees sustained significant damage to their homes and we are doing our best to help them through this difficult time. We sustained some damage to the brewery itself, but thankfully we were able to get it all fixed within the two weeks following the hurricane. We lost power for a week following the storm, but thanks to good preparation and excellent insulation in our aging tanks, we did not lose all of our beer in storage tanks. We have begun bottling and kegging product and we are slowly beginning to get back to brewing. We would like to thank everyone in the brewing community for their thoughts and prayers as we and everyone else affected by this terrible tragedy try to get back to some sort of a normal life. We would also like to thank all of those who have sent and continue to send money for disaster relief. In the next few weeks we will come out with Abita Restoration Ale with $1 from every six pack sold going directly to the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation. Also, we will be at the GABF and we will be selling Restoration Ale t-shirts, hats, pins, and magnets with 100% of the proceeds going directly to this Foundation. We look forward to seeing you all there. Thank you again for all of your support.

  7. admin says

    Dear Brewing Colleagues:
    My name is Henryk Orlik. I am the founder and brewmaster of Heiner Brau, Louisiana’s newest micro brewery and museum. After the first week of successfully selling my version of a Bavarian Style Kolsch, I had a visit from an unwanted guest. The catastrophic Katrina came as fast and furious as she left. With her, she took my future beer market of New Orleans. To make matters worse our Parish President imposed a liquor ban for the next of couple weeks. For my brewery to survive, I need your help.

    If you would like to know more details about what kind of help I need, please contact me at
    my temporary e-mail address at [email][/email] or try my [email][/email] (the info and brewmaster@heinerbrau are not working in this time). Or call me at 985-893-2884 or my cell 985-373-1844. (I currently do not have access to my voicemail due to the storm, so please do not leave a message but don’t hesitate to call again.)

    Again, Heiner Brau is the newest brewery ( in Louisiana which brews German / Bavarian Style beer. The beer is unfiltered and packed in 12 oz. cans. All help is welcome.

    Cheers and Thank You for Your Time,
    Henryk “Heiner” Orlik

  8. Sir Brewsalot says

    Hey everyone – just a little update on the idea of a CBC in New Orleans… from Nancy at BA – and my message to her below that.
    Hi Scott,
    Thanks for sending this.
    New Orleans could be considered as a potential location if the sleeping room rates at hotels with large enough meeting space are affordable (which has been a challenge for us there). Our next available year for consideration is 2009 and we are looking to go east. The decision process would likely not begin until mid 2006.

    I have cc’d our event committee on this email as well.

    Thanks again for your input.

    Nancy Johnson
    Event Director
    Brewers Association
    736 Pearl St.
    Boulder, CO 80302
    Ph: 303.447.0816, ext. 131
    Fax: 303.447.2825
    24th Annual Great American Beer Festival!
    September 29 – October 1, 2005
    Denver, Colorado

    From: Scott Smith []
    Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2005 7:35 PM
    To: Nancy Johnson
    Subject: May I (we) make a location suggestion for the next CBC?

    Hello Nancy,

    We’ve never met, but I’m hoping you might be the right person to send this to. I had a thought about a location for an upcoming CBC – maybe one far enough out where a location assignment has yet to be made…

    Please follow this link to the ProBrewer website where it is discussed a bit – in particular, please see my post (from “Sir Brewsalot”), which is post #4 on this thread.

    Let me know what you think – or if you have any trouble reading the info.


  9. admin says

    Dixie Brewing Company sustained major damage from flooding, but plans to rebuild and brew again at the historic site.

    The brewery was under 8-10 feet of water, which submerged the entire packaging area and destroyed all of the inventory in the warehouse.

    Equipment on the second floor and above sustained less damage, including the brewhouse.

    The company is considering contract brewing at another brewery until the plant is up and running again.