Miel Brewery & Taproom
Miel, pronounced mee-el, is one of the latest businesses to join a cluster of locally owned breweries in New Orleans’ Irish Channel neighborhood. Headed by Janice Montoya and Alex Peyroux, Miel Brewery & Taproom is a community-oriented space to grab a great beer, watch the football game or find your balance at an on-site yoga class (that’s right — you can do yoga at this brewery).
The dream of opening Miel, fully realized in late 2018, began when Peyroux was working for Louisiana’s most famous beer maker, Abita. He put in time learning the craft there and, after a short stint working at a small-scale brewery in Alaska, returned to Abita (where he met Montoya) and eventually found himself working for one of the nation’s largest craft brewers, Boston-based Harpoon Brewery.
“That was a great experience,” Montoya says of their immersion in Boston’s craft beer scene. “But after two years of living up there, we felt like we had the experience to try running a place of our own.” Peyroux’s passion for brewing, combined with Montoya’s background in graphic design and marketing, meant they were uniquely qualified to run different aspects of the business.
Miel opened at a time when it seemed like new local breweries were appearing every week. Montoya and Peyroux didn’t lose sleep over worrying about competition, though.
“We feel like we’re jumping in at the beginning, actually,” Montoya says. Peyroux adds, “Yeah we’re definitely still getting in on the ground floor. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were eventually 30 breweries or more here in New Orleans.” Notably, Miel is located within just a mile of some of New Orleans’ other notable craft breweries, including Port Orleans Brewing Co., Urban South Brewery and NOLA Brewing.
“We’re all friends with those guys,” Peyroux says, noting that his last “day job” was at Urban South, and that the team there was supportive of Miel from the beginning.
Part of the camaraderie among brewers has to do with the harmonious culture found throughout the craft beer industry. It also helps that New Orleans brewers’ products are diverse, and no one is using the exact same recipes of beer.
That is certainly true at Miel. Peyroux and Montoya try to keep the flavors local, featuring beers such as Nox, a Belgian Strong Ale flavored with honey from Peyroux's family farm in Kentwood; Lagniappe, a Dry Irish Stout made with coffee from New Orleans-based Cherry Coffee Roasters; and Gylden, a Norwegian Farmhouse Saison brewed with turmeric from Paradigm Gardens, an urban farm in New Orleans.