Crowds grow as new law lets micro-breweries turn on the taps
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - On Saturday, a new law that allows micro-breweries to sell their creations on site has a lot of people smiling - both business owners and customers.
The cheers from the customers are sounds of success.
"I tell you what, it's a blessing," said Scott Hixson, owner of Hops & Growlers in St. Martin. "It's going to help not only me, but it's going to help every brewery in the state of Mississippi."
Before the law, customers could get free six tastings with a paid tour. Hixson's business sold home brew supplies and other micro-brewery beers.
Now, he can sell his own.
"He's a great brewer," said customer David Taylor. "I'm glad to see that he's able to do it, and it'll make things a whole bunch better for him now."
Tours continue to rise at Biloxi Brewing Company, but beer lovers can now buy beer at the bar.
"We feel absolutely fantastic," said owner Mark Cowley. "I mean the crowd shows that it's something that they have wanted. So, to see the support that we're getting from the public for us and our small businesses here in Mississippi is just indescribable."
Customers are happy as well.
"It is good for all breweries," said Don Henry. "All of them I'm sure will benefit from this, and the city will benefit because more taxes, more entertainment, more tourists. It's all good."
Lazy Magnolia Brewery in Hancock County is the oldest in the state. Co-owner Mark Henderson says that the practice of giving away taste samples with tours was a critical to developing exposure.
But, the new law signifies a cultural shift.
"People now have come to expect breweries to be a place where you go and congregate and you spend time with your friends and neighbors and family and enjoy a beer," said Henderson.
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