Rescue, Renovation, and Rewards
In 2013, the old Laurel WAML radio station photos were displayed at a Mississippi Main Street Association meeting on design. A re-use project idea for the building stumped the panel and demolition seemed to be the best option.
Thankfully, Kenny and Carrie Mann came forward with a creative vision that no one else could have imaged — a microbrewery in downtown Laurel. Kenny is a former maritime chief engineer with 13 years of sea time. His wife, Carrie, is a long time employee of the Laurel School District. They were experienced home brewers with the dream of someday opening their own brewery. In April 2015, the couple purchased the unsightly building and started on the repairs. After months of renovations, painting, and product tests, Slowboat Brewing Company held its first tour that December. The conversion of this property has allowed a new business to become a thriving success and a welcome addition for places to go and things to do in downtown Laurel.
On Thursday, June 15, 2017, The Manns were recognized by the Mississippi Main Street Association for their Outstanding Adaptive Reuse Project. This award is granted to the best reuse of a building that has outlived its former use.
Something to Celebrate
The Manns are active craft beer advocates and are involved in the Mississippi craft beer community. Their passion for their craft draws people into their brewery. The live music, games, friendly atmosphere, and great beer keep the crowds coming. On July 1st, Slowboat will celebrate another milestone — the ability to actually sell their beer on premises! House Bill 1322 allows Mississippi breweries that produce no more than 60,000 barrels of light beer or wine per year to sell up to two cases of their product per day per customer. Patrons of Slowboat Brewing Company will not only enjoy on-site beer sales, but also growler fills, multiple new beers, specialty casks, food trucks, and plenty of live music.
Slowboat’s main focus is small batch artisan styles, including Farmhouse, Sour, Spontaneously fermented wild ales, Belgian style, Barrel-aged, experimental ales, and an ever evolving collection of popular American craft beer styles.