Innovate Mississippi

Pointe Innovation Magazine Winter 2014

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Page 49 of 67

Mississippi's Craft Beer Industry Kegging, Bottling and Canning Creativity By Matthew McLaughlin & Mark Henderson We have spent 12 months justly celebrating the countless and deeply talented musicians, artists, writers, dancers, designers, poets, sculptors, architects and chefs that Mississippi has produced and nurtured over the years. While 2014 was dubbed "The Year of the Creative Economy" in the state, Mississippi has always been a creative economy. Our artists, while at times underappreciated, are the unsung heroes that have managed to crochet, knit, paint, sculpt, design, build and find other ways to scratch a living from the red clay hills and piney woods of Mississippi. The fundamental essence of the creative economy in Mississippi is, and always has been, about creating a novel product or work of art. The creative economy is about creating unique experiences that possess a deeply aesthetic quality and move us in profound ways. The creative economy is about enabling our communities to take ownership of and tell their compelling stories. The creative economy is a celebration of all that is Mississippi. One such industry that is a celebration of all that is creative in Mississippi is the craft beer industry. This industry is unique in that it not only represents a wonderful example of the scalability of manufacturing in Mississippi, but also the romance of our endearing culture and hospitality. It allows us to "keg," "bottle" and "can" Mississippi and share it throughout the United States. The craft beer industry is a critical component to the creative economy in Mississippi for a number of reasons. Like Viking Range and Peavey Electronics, the craft beer industry is an art form in the manufacturing sector. The process of brewing craft beer is delicate and precise, combining distinctive ingredients in the context of a large-scale manufacturing setting. The craft beer industry is capital-intensive and provides a significant economic impact at the state and local level. The initial investment in a craft brewery usually exceeds $1 million. Follow on expansion projects and increasing capacity in brewhouses are even more significant financial commitments. All of this investment leads to more jobs for Mississippians and increased property taxes for the communities who incubate a craft brewery. The production of craft beer is a scalable and an exportable Mississippi story. Robert Sutton, a professor of management science and engineering at the Stanford School of Engineering and a professor of organizational behavior, defines scaling as spreading excellence. Mississippi craft breweries produce some amazingly excellent products. The craft beer segment is growing at double-digit rates year after year, far outpacing the macro beer segment. Craft breweries are placemaking instruments that have a transformative effect on local communities. Many craft breweries locate in historic buildings or repurpose former industrial sites. This kind of placemaking transforms areas that some people perceive as blighted, poor or otherwise unattractive. Craft breweries become community connectors and change-making agents. rough hosting tours and supporting

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