ABITA SPRINGS, LA — It's no secret, people in Louisiana love their food...and drinks! There's a lot to be proud of here in South Louisiana so we're taking a closer look at some of those homemade favorites from farm to table. When it comes to beer around here, Abita has certainly made a name for itself.
"In 1986, we began brewing beer in Abita Springs, Louisiana. And we were founded by two home brewers and they just had a passion for beer," says David Blossman, President of Abita Brewing Company.
David understands that passion.
"We love the art so much and respect the art so much," he says.
He started home brewing when he was a teenager.
"It enthralled me," says David, "and it just consumed me. I couldn't do anything about it!"
At just 17 years old, he invested in the Abita Brewing Company. Today, he's the company's president.
"Brewing is really science and art," he says. "Our job is securing the finest materials, making the best beer possible and putting it out in the market and having consumers react to it."
Something he gets to see first hand during brewery tours.
"I think the best reaction is when they open up the door from our visitors center," he says, "and go into the cellar and go WOW! They see the sea of stainless steel vessels."
Abita churns out more than 150,000 barrels of beer every year. That's 4.6 million gallons! But before the beer is brewed, David says they start with great ingredients.
"We find the best materials in the world to make beer out of and, for us, that's barley, water, hops and yeast."
David say the water is the easy part.
"Everybody knows about Abita water tasting great but what they might not realize is that it's perfect for brewing beer. We're one of the only breweries in the world that don't treat our water."
As for the barley, hops and yeast, those come from all over the world. Once they've got the best of the best, that's when the brewing can begin.
David breaks down the process:
"A brew takes about 8 hours and then it has to ferment anywhere from 4 or 5 days up to 3 or 4 weeks depending on how strong the beer is and then you have to age it and some of our beers are aged 2 weeks and some of them are aged 3 months and that's a patient process and then afterwards you filter it and either keg or bottle it."
They can bottle 400 beers a minute! Then it's off to the distributors and finally to store shelves.
"We love our culture and we love what is Louisiana so we worked real hard to try to become the culture of Louisiana."
Something you'll see in some of the labels and taste in some of the beers, like the
Abita Strawberry. They use the sweet, red berries from right down the road in Ponchatoula. David says people who work for Abita love that kind of creativity.
"There's also a blank canvas sometimes for you to paint on and that's why we make so many different beers."
So what's David's favorite?
"I love all of them and it depends on what I'm eating, the time of the year and what the temperature is and what's the mood I'm in," he says.
So no hard and fast answer here but that means picking a favorite is completely up to you!