Andrew and I were in Shreveport visiting our families for Christmas and had the hardest time finding craft beer. I guess we've been spoiled here in DC, with access to a variety of craft beer bars, restaurants with outstanding beer programs, and stores stocked full of a variety of fresh craft beer from all over the world. We could throw a rock and hit a fresh IPA from our house.
On our flight back, we decided that we we wanted to focus our efforts on starting a craft brewery in Shreveport so that Northwest Louisiana would have a beer of its own. The craft beer growth movement that is taking place across the United States has not only resulted in an increase in craft beer sales, but also a huge jump in the number of breweries in planning. As of June 30, 2011, there were 725 breweries in planning, according to the Brewers Association.
The Brewers Association also says that the majority of Americans live within ten miles of a brewery. Unfortunately, that isn't the case for Shreveport-Bossier residents. They have to travel over 180 miles to get to a brewery. So we are working to change that.
On December 28, 2011, we left Shreveport Regional Airport, dog in tow, and vowed not to return until we had a solid plan to build Shreveport's own craft brewery. 30 days later, we booked airfare home.
This is the start of Great Raft Brewing.