Beer is brewing economic opportunities - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Beer is brewing economic opportunities

The crowd for entry into Top of the Hops The crowd for entry into Top of the Hops
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Mississippians are emptying their beer mugs, along with their wallets for new high gravity beers.

The 4th annual Top of the Hops Beer Festival showcased 52 breweries that brought about 150 beers for sampling.

"It's a great atmosphere for craft beer lovers to come sample and try different types of beers that you can't really find at the grocery store and your local bar," said Top of the Hops Beer Festival Project Manager Trevor Starnes.

It's a selection you would've missed when the festival first started.

Hops and Habanas owner Rick Miles helped lobby for the new law, along with the Raise Your Pints organization. He says the legislation is one reason he opened his Madison store.

In just one year Hops and Habanas has added 70 new products.

"With the amount of beer that's coming into market now, we're basically out of space. We're basically having to allocate our spaces very carefully. So we're looking to expand our store," said Miles.

Brewers and tourism officials say the state is filling up with opportunities.

Southern Prohibition Brewery opened once the law was passed. Now, it's employees are producing several beers state wide.

"We just knew that Hattiesburg needed a crafty brewery. It's good for the community. It's good for the economy. It creates jobs and helps bars and restaurants," said Southern Prohibition Brewery Director of Marketing Emily Curry.

Pub and brewery tours are popular across the county. Many believe the suds in a cup can also draw tourists to Mississippi.

"They bring something to tourism. They bring something to your city. It's whole other side that we haven't really looked at yet," said Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau Director of Marketing and Public Relations Marika Cackett.

Adding to the business boom, Mississippians can now make beer legally as of July 1st. Now, home brewing stores are opening, supplying equipment, and hiring employees.

Copyright 2013 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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