By Dixon Hayes
GADSDEN, AL (WBRC) - A Gadsden man wants to give his hometown something it's never had before: a craft brewery that makes a popular local beer.
Jason Wilson is the owner of Back Forty Beer Company, makers of Naked Pig Pale Ale and Truck Stop Honey. Both are ales that are hand crafted.
The third generation Gadsden resident wants to locate it downtown, in a microbrewery that would be the city's first ever. But the red tape hasn't made it easy. A city zoning law was changed at one point, and a Prohibition-era state law still won't allow him to sell beer on the premises. An attempt to change that law failed this past session in the state legislature.
"We're behind the curve, but we knew that when we came into this, we knew what we were up against, and we're committed to this state for the long haul," Wilson told us.
Currently the made-for-Alabama beer is actually made in Mississippi.
"We've tasked our brewmaster with making the drive to Kiln, Mississippi, every month and they essentially leave the key under the mat for us," Wilson says. "We're able to brew and package our product and get it out on the shelves where it comes straight back to Alabama."
The company would employ 15 or so people up front and in a few years, the number could grow to 60. The public would be able to see the beer brewed, something Wilson predicts will actually bring tourism dollars into downtown Gadsden.
"Basically every major city in America has a craft brewery or a local microbrewery that they can be proud of. That's the reason we focused on the downtown area, you know, because we want it to be a very intregal part of the community here in Gadsden."
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