Parish Brew­ing Co.

By find­ing the “white space” in the brew­ing in­dus­try—that is the styles, trends, and fla­vors that still need to be ex­plored—an­drew God­ley of Parish Brew­ing Co. is work­ing to stay com­pet­i­tive in a crowded mar­ket­place and give cus­tomers a rea­son to get cont

Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine - - Contents - By John Holl

ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS An­drew God­ley, the founder of Parish Brew­ing Co. in Brous­sard, Louisiana, will tell you is that no one who works at his brew­ery has any pre­vi­ous brew­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. It’s not that he hasn’t found ap­pli­cants with prac­ti­cal brew­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in the past, but he’s found that hir­ing peo­ple with other back­grounds has helped his brew­ery grow, think dif­fer­ently, and make the kind of im­pact on the mar­ket­place that has helped it stand out.

“In gen­eral, I like folks with fresh ideas, [folks] who in­no­vate, [folks] who ag­gres­sively push bound­aries,” he says. “We don’t have the mind­set here of ‘Oh, that’s the way some­thing should be done’; we never say ‘this can’t be done’ or ‘this is what the text books says.’ We make our own mis­takes. That’s how in­no­va­tion hap­pens. No bound­aries. No men­tal bar­ri­ers about how things are sup­posed to be. And folks who come from other brew­eries al­ready have the per­spec­tive on how it’s been done at an­other place and that just doesn’t work.”

He walks that walk. He was work­ing as an en­gi­neer in Pitts­burgh more than a decade ago when he re­al­ized that he just didn’t like work­ing for “The Man.” And on a trip back home to ru­ral Louisiana, he re­al­ized that there was a com­plete lack of a beer scene (save for Abita Brew­ing Com­pany, which had be­come syn­ony­mous with craft in the state). In Pitts­burgh, he had been in­tro­duced to a ro­bust beer cul­ture, in­clud­ing many small brew­eries that were crank­ing out ales and lagers that cap­tured the ex­cite­ment and in­no­va­tion at the time.

God­ley de­cided to bring that en­thu­si­asm home and jumped in with two feet. He bought an all-grain nano sys­tem and started home­brew­ing and quickly opened his own spot with the equip­ment while con­tin­u­ing to work as an en­gi­neer (he had to fund the brew­ery some­how).

“Look­ing back on it, it was re­ally stupid,” he says with a laugh. “I get calls from aspir­ing brew­ers all the time—just got one from Aus­tralia—and they ask about launch­ing with a nano. And I say, ‘Don’t do it. Save your money. If your beer is good, mak­ing it on a nano is a waste of time if you want to be pro­fes­sional.’ It’s how I got started with 55-gal­lon drums, plas­tic tanks, putting money in from each pay­check and mak­ing twenty kegs per week.”

The brew­ery is now near­ing 20,000 bar­rels an­nu­ally, be­tween their cur­rent lo­ca­tion and a con­tract re­la­tion­ship with Brew Hub in Florida.

Lo­ca­tion, Lo­ca­tion, Lo­ca­tion

“Around here, we have sugar-cane fields and noth­ing else. You go to some parts of the coun­try, they have corn; you go to the Pa­cific North­west, they have hops; we have sugar cane, so that’s what we brew with,” God­ley says.

When God­ley was start­ing out, he knew that he would need to make a con­nec­tion with lo­cal drinkers. “Around here, we have sugar-cane fields and noth­ing else. You go to some parts of the coun­try, they have corn; you go to the Pa­cific North­west, they have hops; we have sugar cane, so that’s what we brew with,” he says.

Cane­brake, a wheat ale with sweet notes of honey with just a sub­tle cit­rus spicy hops bite, is one of the brew­ery’s big sell­ers. Cre­at­ing a beer that lo­cals could iden­tify with, have a sense of pride in, and, most im­por­tantly, find to be easy-drink­ing helped the brew­ery es­tab­lish it­self in this part of the coun­try early on.

It also helped God­ley to think about the way he was ap­proach­ing other beers. An early ver­sion of Parish’s pale ale, En­vie, was ba­si­cally a clone of Sierra Ne­vada Pale Ale, he says. And it was do­ing mod­estly well, but the world al­ready had a Sierra Pale. Did it need an­other? God­ley was pon­der­ing this in

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