It’s a small business with a big name.
“There’s a Tchefuncte Native American culture that started out in the Mandeville area where Fontainebleau State Park is, 600 B.C. or so. We tried to go a little bit more phonetic with it to give people who have never heard of the name an easier chance to spell it and we also knew it was very unique to the area,” says Brewmaster of Chafunkta Brewing Co., Josh Erickson. The name is a perfect fit for this family owned operation because “unique” is probably the best way to describe their story.
“I started home brewing in 1998 when I was in college and it didn’t turn out too well. It was with a Mr. Beer kit…. Since then, we’ve had four children with my wife Jaime here and I put home brewing aside. Obviously, some other things took priority we are kind of busy; four boys,” says Erickson. But in 2011 that hobby turned passion project, turned into a fully licensed craft brewery.
Josh still works his day job, Monday through Friday. He brews evenings and weekends. Wife Jaime handles all of the marketing and even helps out at home, cold-brewing coffee for their Old 504 porter. “People actually have taken it and baked with it, we had fudge made, cupcakes made. Especially people who love coffee or vanilla, you know, they just can’t wait to taste it and that’s why we started our tours so that people could come try it,” says Jaime Erickson.
Their concoction has been known to convert coffee lovers and loathers alike into craft beer drinkers for life. “If we’re going to put beers out of the shelf for people to consume, we wanted them to be the beers we loved,” says Josh. “Old 504 coffee porter, Kingfish Cream Ale, and Voo Ka Ray IPA.”
The smallest brewery in Louisiana sure doesn’t lack dedication, or love for that matter. “When he approached me, I was just a hundred and ten percent behind him. I just love every minute of it now, to watch him do something he loves to do,” says Jaime.