Craft beer company won't be brewing in Jackson County - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Craft beer company won't be brewing in Jackson County

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Supervisors voted Monday against granting a special exception permit to Crooked Letter Brewing Company of Vancleave after several residents complained about the idea. Supervisors voted Monday against granting a special exception permit to Crooked Letter Brewing Company of Vancleave after several residents complained about the idea.
JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Craft beer won't be brewing in Jackson County anytime soon. Supervisors voted Monday against granting a special exception permit to Crooked Letter Brewing Company of Vancleave after several residents complained about the idea. But the owners said they refuse to let this beer plan go to waste.

A battle was brewing Monday between beer company owners and several Vancleave residents about alcohol brewing in their community.

"I am against it and I think it should be put somewhere else," one resident said about the brewing company.

"There are thousands of breweries in the U.S.," company owner Wanda Blacksmith said. 

Back in April, the county's planning commission voted to give the Blacksmiths a special exception to build a brewing barn to manufacture beer on their 13 acre property. But some nearby residents and church leaders appealed, telling the board alcohol production in a residential community can only cause trouble. 

"I don't want someone that has been drinking beer driving in on that road; it is a very winding road. The sheriff is going to have to increase amount of patrols they have in the area," resident David Schoenick said.

Paul Blacksmith told WLOX News that there would be no drinking at the proposed brewery, not even samples.

"It is a manufacturing facility, not retail," Blacksmith wrote in an email response to Schoenick's concerns.

But four out five supervisors agreed with the complaining residents that the business would not be a good fit, and said "no" to the beer company. 

"I ask that the special exception be denied," Supervisor John McKay said.

 After the meeting, the Blacksmiths expressed their outrage.  

"The board was biased because they had a prepared statement," Paul Blacksmith said. "The decision was already made because of the fact we were going to be making beer." 

"I am really baffled," Wanda Blacksmith said. "We are trying to open up a business in Jackson County that would bring $400,000 in tax revenue, $200,000 in county tax revenue, and $400,000 over the next five years. Also, $210,000 in federal taxes over the next five years, and they tell us we can't do that." 

The Blacksmiths said they are considering moving the business to Harrison County. Supervisors said the couple has 10 days to appeal this decision.

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