Natchitoches will soon receive a brand-new business venture as Cane River Brewing Co. plans to open its doors within the next few weeks after starting construction earlier this year.
The brewery will open with four main beers: an American pale ale, an India pale ale, a pilsner and a porter. Seasonal beers will be on rotation throughout the year, with limited time beers offered on location only in the tap-room. Non-alcoholic options will include root beer and cream soda.
The brewery was founded by longtime friends and Northwestern State University alumni Justin Krouse, 30, and Cade Gentry, 31, who were born and raised in Natchitoches. The project began five years ago as the pair were looking to open a restaurant but turned their efforts to brewing beer when they realized a demand for local beer.
To prepare for their venture Gentry and Krouse attended a two-week course in Chicago. “It covered everything from water to grains to the different styles of beer,” Krouse said.
To help with the brewery process Gentry and Krouse hired brew master Brooks Hamaker, who has helped in opening over 20 breweries across the U.S., including Abita.
Some neighboring residents were originally concerned about the brewery, located in an old cotton gin building on Mills Street, due to potential noise pollution and a misunderstanding of what the business would be doing.
“There were some people who had their doubts on exactly what we were doing and didn’t know exactly what a brewery was,” Krouse said. “Some thought it was like a night club, but we’re all about making beer and tasting beer.”
When seeking approval from the city, the city council voted unanimously to allow the city to lease the cotton gin building, with Mayor Lee Posey saying, “it’s only going to be 65 decibels, and this is not unpleasant to the ears.”
“We saw a little push back in the beginning, but everyone is supporting us now,” Gentry said.
“I think it’s a brilliant idea for Natchitoches to have its own beer,” Northwestern State University Alumni Richard Sargee said. “It’ll do great during festivals and give a lot back to the town.”
Though no set date for the grand opening has been announced, the co-founders assured it’d be within a few weeks.
“We’ll open definitely in November,” Gentry said. “We plan to catch the holiday season in Natchitoches.”
The brewery will feature an indoor tap room with an outside seating area, and tours will be available to see the brewing process shortly after opening.
Their alcohol will be available in restaurants and bars between Shreveport and Alexandria with hopes to expand the entirety of Louisiana and eastern Texas within two years.
Photo courtesy of Cane River Brewing Co.