Abita Brewing Company

Abita Brewing Company

A Story by Bryant James

Profile of a local company. And beer too.


Abita Brewing Company...

                In the late 1790’s, a Spaniard by the name of Henriques married a Choctoaw Indian and brought her home to live in New Orleans. After a few days she grew extremely ill and there was nothing the local doctors could do for her. Henriques decided to take his wife back to the Choctaw tribe and the medicine man insisted she be left at the springs with nothing but a little food and a cup to drink from the spring. Henriques thought that this was absurd and was forced to leave by the Indians. When he returned he was astonished to find his wife completely healthy. Rumors of the waters fame began to spread, and it would take us almost 200 years to decide to brew beer from this water.

                These rumors would also bring a railroad to the area; restaurants and hotels would soon follow. In 1912 the town of Abita Springs was founded. Almost 75 years later in 1986, the Abita Brew Pub was founded and started making a local beet brewed directly from the natural spring water. That first year, Abita brewed 1,500 barrels of beer; a long way off from the 90,000 it brews annually now. While still the local prize, Abita’s various brews are now distributed throughout the United States as well as Puerto Rico.

                Besides using the natural artesian spring water, Abita only uses the best ingredients. They use barley from both England and North America, German and American yeast, and hops from the Pacific Northwest. They also use no preservatives, which makes it favorable among chefs for cooking purposes. On the bottling line, where 160 beers are bottled a minute, every bottle is cleaned, filled, and dated. No one beer or keg sits in the facility more than 7 days. Abita also offers a root beer, which unlike others, contains no high-fructose corn syrup. As a substitute, they use Louisiana sugar cane.

                Beyond using only the best ingredients and natural Louisiana water, Abita Brewing Company has found many ways to not only give back to the local community, but many ways to also give back to the environment. The Abita Brewing Company was the first in North America to install a Merlin Brewhouse. This new age brewing  system reduces the boiling time and carbon dioxide emissions, as well as uses 70% less energy altogether. They also operate their own industrial wastewater treatment plant, which uses wastewater to generate energy. By using a Bio-Energy Recovery System (BERS), the wastewater is treated to reduce strength and volume, while creating a renewable “bio-gas” that is used to fuel their boilers.

                Even the packaging process is done in an environment friendly way. Every six-pack is wrapped using 50% less paper, using only recycled paper. While only using recycled glass bottles, Abita’s glass bottle is far more environmental than the traditional long neck bottle. From the sales force that spreads the Abita name, to the fleet of 18 wheelers that deliver your order, Abita Brewing takes every step to reduce their carbon footprint. The Abita sales represenitives all drive gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles, while the 18 wheeler delivery fleet are all equipped with an energy saving Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) that takes over engine operations once the vehicle is parked.  Even the used grain and hops at Abita are sent to local farms to help feed cattle.

                Following hurricanes Katrina and Rita the Abita Brewing Company created the Abita Restoration Pale Ale, which was to donate one dollar from every Restoration Ale sold to the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation. It raised $550,000 to help clean the aftermath of these catastrophic hurricanes, as well as donated $115,000 to the town of Abita Springs to expand the historic Abita Springs Tourist Park. They also offer the Abita Abbey Ale, which honors the traditions of monks brewing beer in monasteries. Twenty-Five cents from every bottle sold goes to the local Seminary College in Covington , Louisiana.

                The Abita Brewing Company is local pride; carefully brewing Louisiana tradition, while at the same time, improving the environment that we live in.

Bryant James
Denham Springs

© 2011 Bryant James

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Added on March 7, 2011
Last Updated on March 7, 2011


Bryant James
Bryant James

Baton Rouge, LA

Undergraduate Student. Late Bloomer. Journalism. Life. Expression. more..