Cajun Fire: City’s first black-owned brewery planned in N.O. East

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NEW ORLEANS -- In a little more than a year, a lot of land that sits in the shadows of the old Six Flags ruins will be transformed into a site of flavor. It's the future home of the Cajun Fire Brewing Company.

Founder and owner Jon Renthrope is "not the most talkative person," he says, but as one of the only black brewmasters in the South, he's got a lot to say when it comes to craft beer.

"I say I'm complex. I'm not the most talkative person. I think on a lot of things, and I say even fewer," Renthrope admits.

Renthrope and his family have been brewing beer for a little over a decade. His love for beer started with a little quality time spent with his brother.

"My fondest experience is drinking with him on the Bayou fishing while having a beer," he says. "It's a family-owned business, so we are all in! Those experiences helped to shape me into the person I am today."

The grounds of Cajun Fire Brewing Company will house a manufacturing building, a tap room, an events facility and a cultural museum.

"It's right at the foot of the city," Renthrope says. "It's the first thing you see coming and the last thing you see going out. We want the city to be recognized again as the brewing capital of the south. In the 1860s the city once had 50-plus breweries to its name. These breweries supported a lot of different families. We're trying to essentially establish that in New Orleans East."

For Renthrope and his family, it's about building a business -- and revitalizing an oft-neglected area of town.

"My brewing style incorporates soul because I'm a black brewer first, and those experiences have a way of diving into whatever I touch with the company," he says. "You recognize that you might have a lot more hurdles than your competition. For me it's healthy because it allows me to express myself and create something that can infuse civic pride into an area that has often been neglected."


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