Faubourg Brewing scaling back operations at New Orleans East facility

Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 4:36 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Operators at The Benson Group’s Faubourg Brewing Co., New Orleans’ oldest brewery, say they’re consolidating operations at its facility in New Orleans East.

The majority owner and operator, Made by the Water, which merged with Faubourg in Sept. 2022, announced a decision on Tuesday (Nov. 14) to scale back manufacturing operations at the facility near the high-rise. The company says most, but not all, of its brewing will happen at other facilities.

MBTW says some jobs will be lost but did not say how many.

“Faubourg is going to continue producing beer in New Orleans,” said MBTW CEO Alexi Sekmakas. “The taproom is going to remain open. The event space is going to remain open. And a variety of small-batch products that have always been on tap and available in New Orleans East is going to continue to be readily available in welcoming guests in there.”

One of the contributing factors to the manufacturing scale-back is the rising cost of water, according to the company’s statement. Councilman Oliver Thomas says he is facilitating negotiations between MBTW and the Sewerage and Water Board (SWBNO).

SWBNO says it maintains a great relationship with Mrs. Benson by speaking often about ways to improve business.

“They recently met about sewer credits since the brewery bottles water instead of discharging it into the wastewater system,” a spokesperson for SWBNO wrote to Fox 8 in a statement. “We offered solutions and credits as we would to any customer who can show that their water usage does not go into our wastewater collection system, for example via a leak or filling a pool.”

Thomas says he will continue to engage in those conversations.

“Don’t forget those discussions actually got Made By The Water to consolidate their business here, rather than stay in North Carolina,” Thomas said. “So, just think, if they have not moved their operation here or if they were moving their entire operation. It would be more than a few people losing their jobs. We would lose an entire business interest.”

At the time of the merger, MBTW said the goal was to create jobs and economic development in New Orleans East en route to becoming one of the largest craft beer producers in the country.

Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson holds a stake in the company and helped open the brewery. Made By The Water is a southeast-based company of craft breweries including Oyster City in Apalachicola, FL, Catawba in Asheville, NC, and Palmetto in Charleston, SC.

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