Southern Craft Brewing Co.
When Southern Craft Brewery Co.’s founders Joe Picou and Wes Hedges named their company, they were sending a message to the masses: They aimed to make their beer as south-of-the-Mason-Dixon as possible. Looking at the ingredients you’ll find in flagship beers Red Stick Rye and Pompous Pelican, you can say they have handily accomplished that goal.
“For the Red Stick Rye, we use rye malt that’s been used in the South for over 200 years,” says Picou. The clean, spicy and dry character of the North Carolina-grown grain gives the beer its signature flavor. Perhaps that’s one reason Red Stick Rye won second place among 7,000 entries at the 2011 National Homebrew Competition in San Diego.
The Pompous Pelican is also a beer with deep Southern roots. This Double IPA, with a citrusy, floral flavor, incorporates sugarcane from the nation’s oldest family-owned raw sugar producer, M.A. Patout & Son. From its facility in Jeanerette, M.A. Patout ships the sugar to Southern Craft’s Baton Rouge facility in five-gallon buckets. Total distance between the factory and the brewery: 49 miles. That’s about as local as it gets.
The backstory of Southern Craft Brewery is not unlike most small-scale beer producers. It began as a hobby for Picou and Hedges, civil and chemical engineers respectively. In Picou’s words, “Having that background allowed us to make some award-winning beers at the home level and then scale them up.” He acknowledges that Southern Craft’s big win in San Diego gave him and Hedges confidence to begin building their brand.
The brewery formally debuted at the Zapp’s International Beerfest in spring 2016, and opened its taproom a month later. Picou invites visitors to stop by Southern Craft’s home, where you’ll find hats, T-shirts and other company swag, in addition to Red Stick Rye, Pompous Pelican and new brews currently in pre-production. If you’re interested in learning a little about the process itself, just ask for a tour and the guys will gladly accommodate.
Keep an eye on Southern Craft Brewery as it adds new beers to its roster and expands into Baton Rouge markets and beyond. Currently you’ll find brews at The Chimes Restaurant & Tap Room, The Bulldog, Parrain’s Seafood Restaurant, The Pelican House and other locally famous Baton Rouge bars and restaurants. To stay in the know, follow Southern Craft on Facebook for the most up-to-date info about new releases and where you can find Picou and Hedges’ quintessentially Southern brews.