BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - In just a few months, the historic Barq Factory on Keller Avenue will become the home to a brewery, not for root beer or regular beer, but for Kombucha, a fermented health tea.
Before the brewing begins, work is underway to restore the building to its former glory.
“It’s definitely going to look brand new by the time we get done,” said contractor Sean Dietz.
Dietz is in charge of renovating the Barq building. It is in need of a lot of TLC, but that’s a challenge Dietz is willing to tackle.
“Believe it or not, it’s been a headache, and it’s been a process, but we’ve definitely made it happen. And it’s definitely coming along much smoother than I expected,” he said.
The building is the birthplace of Barq’s root beer and has been standing since the 1890s. Dietz said his main goal is to restore the building to the way it was more than a century ago, reusing many of the original materials, even down to the nails.
“If you do drastic changes, people won’t know what it was like, they won’t know how old the building really was. Therefore, we want to keep everything original to the point that everybody is willing to see how small the location it took, just to become a big name,” he said.
There’s still pieces of Barq’s memorabilia inside the building, including this recipe written on the wall, which Dietz plans to preserve.
“We want to be able to let people know this is where it started, this is where it became something important. Therefore, we want everyone to see what it looked like whenever they were here, whenever they were bottling, and how they started everything,” he said.
Even though there’ll now be a new drink sold from within these walls, Dietz said the building’s original history can’t be ignored.
He hopes that once this project is complete, it will be one that will tell a piece of Biloxi’s story.
“In a small city, you can turn a small business into a large corporation, and that’s my goal is to let people see where small businesses started at and where they’re going to blow up to be," he said.
Dietz said he plans to have work complete in the next three to six months.