Recent revisions of laws governing alcohol production in Louisiana allows breweries to sell up to 10 percent of their beer directly to the public in a dedicated space within or attached to their facility. This has been a game changer for Louisiana's fledgling brewing community. Tap rooms provide income and help breweries build relationships with customers.
NOLA Brewing (3001 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-896-9996; www.nolabrewing.com) opened its tap room in September 2013, and it has served as a venue to watch New Orleans Saints games, an event space and a place to try experimental and one-off beers offered only in the tap room.
"We built out the current tap room very quickly after Hurricane Isaac destroyed the structure that was previously there," says NOLA Brewing COO Dylan Lintern. "We now want to build out the tap room we always wanted. It is going to have charm and character — a real New Orleans feel to it."
Lintern says the new tap room will have a partially covered second-floor deck with a view of the Mississippi River and will serve food. He expects it to open in late fall or early winter.
In Baton Rouge, Tin Roof Brewing Co. (www.tinroofbeer.com) is trying to open a tap room by the end of August, before college football season begins. Co-founder Charles Caldwell says building the 2,000-square-foot tap room — with 10 to 12 taps featuring regular beers and test batches — will allow the brewery to connect directly with the community. "We really want the tap room to be a welcoming and laid-back space where people can come enjoy some brews and learn about craft beer," Caldwell says.