The Magnolia State
Mississippi took arguably the hardest hit from the Prohibition with an early start in 1907, and an extended duration lasting until 1966, making it the last of the states to ratify the 21st amendment. On top of this, 36 of the 82 counties in Mississippi still remain dry.
Lasting this long after most other states ratified the 21st amendment; people began developing sneaky methods to get alcohol into Mississippi. The state imposed a 10% tax, which they called the Black Market Tax on any and all illegal alcohol that was coming into the state. However, the people of Mississippi could still be prosecuted for breaking the “no alcohol in the state” law.
Brewing was slow in Mississippi all the way up until about 1999 when Coast Brewing opened and became the states first brewer and brewpub since the start of their Prohibition in 1907. Of course there were still strict rules in place, one being that the beers they served could not have an ABV over 4%.
There are several other Mississippi brewery laws and beer laws still in effect today. Beer can only be purchased in Mississippi for off premise consumption Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to midnight and some stores prohibit alcohol sales entirely on Sundays. Places that serve beer for on-premise consumption can sell between the hours of 7 a.m. and midnight Monday through Sunday. Breweries may not produce beers with an ABV higher than 8% in Mississippi, which is actually a step in the right direction, since prior to 2012 the ABV had to be under 5%. Tasting tours have just recently been enabled on-site, but direct sales to customers are still prohibited. Finally, Mississippi was the last state to legalize home brewing, which was finally done so in 2013.
All in all Mississippi may be far behind and slow to make the changes, but they’re working on making up for it now. In fact they even have their own Mississippi craft beer week where they celebrate how far they have come and how much still is ahead for them.
As of today, the oldest Mississippi craft brewery still in operation is Lazy Magnolia Brewing, which was established in 2003. Along with this one, some of the must try Mississippi craft beer comes from some of the best breweries in Mississippi, which includes: Chandeleur Brewing in Gulfport, Crooked Letter Brewing in Ocean Springs, and Southern Prohibition Brewing in Hattiesburg.
We have had the pleasure of featuring Mississippi beer from the magnificent Mississippi craft brewery Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company. We are always trying and looking for new Mississippi breweries to try and feature in our craft beer of the month club to share with you.