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Brewing Up Some Thanks

The local craft brewing community shares what they're thankful for this year.

With the leaps and strides the craft beer scene here in New Orleans has made this year (with continued growth predicted for the next several years to come), what are the members of this community thankful for? With four breweries opening in Louisiana in 2014, and at least another four slated to open next year, there's a lot to be thankful for. Here's what local beer makers, distributors, servers, and enthusiasts had to say.

David Blossman, president of Abita Brewing Company: "At Abita Brewing Company we are thankful to all of our loyal customers in the craft beer community. Together with their continued trust and support we are able educate and expand people's palates while giving them a chance to drink some wonderfully diverse and high quality brews."

Jon Renthrope, owner/brewer of Cajun Fire Brewing (a brewery hoping to open in 2015): "Thankful for the love and support."

Cari and Zac Caramonta, owners of Gnarly Barley Brewing: "We're thankful for the opportunity to help grow the local beer scene and for all the support from the Louisiana beer community."

Emily Curry, sales manager of Mississippi's Southern Prohibition Brewing: "I am thankful for Kyle, Donn, Travis and Jim at LA Craft (Craft Brands division of Southern Eagle Sales & Services) and Citra hops. The craft beer scene would not be nearly as exciting without those five "things". I'm also thankful I have never seen the inside of an NOPD jail cell."

Scott Wood and Lindsay Hellwig, owners of the Courtyard Brewery: "Thankful for #thirsty New Orleanians."

Charles Caldwell, co-owner of Tin Roof Brewing: "I think all of us in the craft beer biz have a lot to be thankful for this year. I'm thankful for Tin Roof's dedicated team. I'm thankful for an awesome, growing craft beer scene here in Louisiana. Lastly, I'm thankful for gloriously hoppy beers."

Daniel Reynolds, brewmaster at the New Orleans Gordon Biersch Restaurant and Brewpub: "I'm thankful I wake up every morning, love my family and friends, and brew beer for people to share."

Karlos Knott, co-owner of Bayou Teche Brewing: "Everyone at Bayou Teche Brewing is thankful for having been born and raised in South Louisiana. We are very blessed to be living and able to brew in our birthplace - beers for America's most remarkable culture, miraculous cuisine and all surrounded by toe-tapping music and art. We are of course also thankful for all of the new friends we have made in our travels this year."

Kirk Coco, President of NOLA Brewing: "I am thankful to work in an industry that is supportive and working towards the growth of craft beer instead of competitive infighting, but above all I am thankful to work with the best team a person could hope to have sharing the goal of making the best beer we can produce."

Vanessa Gomes, Craft Brands Manager at Champagne Beverage: "I am thankful for how our beer circle of friends has grown over the years - some have moved on, some new faces, but all are here for the same reason. Together we are making a positive difference for the craft beer community as a whole in Louisiana. It still gets me when I've had the opportunity to enlightened someone new to craft beer, like a little light goes off in them. When that happens, I remember why I do what I do and how much I love doing it."

Jacob Landry, founder of Urban South Brewing (hoping to open in 2015): "I'm thankful for the craft beer excitement and community growing every day in New Orleans."

Justin Boswell, brewer-owner of Wayward Owl Brewing (hoping to open in 2015): "I would have to say that I am thankful for the growth in the craft beer community and those who have been blazing the trail for the rest of us. Also, this pint of MechaHopzilla is certainly something to be thankful for."

Travis Clark, Sales Representative for LA Craft Beer at Southern Eagle Sales & Service: "I am thankful that despite being 1500 miles away from my family, I have a great group of friends here that grew out of our mutual love of craft beer, and with whom I am fortunate enough to be sharing my Thanksgiving and undoubtedly many delicious brews."

Polly Watts, owner of the Avenue Pub: "I am always enduringly thankful for my customer base. I'm super blessed to have folks that appreciate what we do and share my palate in beer."

Beau Raines, co-founder of Red River Brewing: "First of all, I'm thankful for the experience. Having a hobby turn into a side project of owning a brewery has been maddeningly frustrating, stressful, and time consuming. But I wouldn't trade any of it because true pride in one's accomplishments can't be appreciated without the despair of failures. Second, the consumer. Sharing our story and interacting with the people that enjoy what we're doing is a lot of the reason we push forward. Last but not least, the team - Robert, Jared, Steve and especially our saintly wives and wild children. They sacrifice so much so that we can follow this dream. I couldn't ask for a better group of people to be working with."

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