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Black Warrior Brewing Company overcomes obstacles

The Black Warrior Brewing Company opened on November 9, 2013. /CW | Hanna Curlette

Matt Moore

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Late Sunday evening, several patrons of one of Tuscaloosa’s newest breweries gathered to enjoy a few three-dollar pints at the Black Warrior Brewing Company. Behind the bar, a bartender drew draft beers into pint glasses embossed with Black Warrior Brewing Company’s original arrowhead logo while cellarman and co-owner Joe Fuller made the final preparations for the release of next week’s small batch.

“Monday is our new beer release – it’s New Beer Monday,” Fuller said. “It’s always limited, so only around 15 to 20 gallons. If it’s really good, it’ll be gone ?by Thursday.”

Black Warrior Brewing Company opened on November 9, 2013. However, opening a brewpub in Alabama wasn’t always possible, and Fuller said the process came with a number of challenges.

“We wouldn’t be sitting here four years ago,” Fuller said. “The laws for breweries were very very difficult, especially for us.”

Specifically, owners of brewpubs were confined to several restrictions prior to the Alabama Brewery Modernization Act in 2011. Brewpub owners had to be in a historic building, have served alcohol since before prohibition, have enough space for at least 80 people and serve food. Brewpub owners could not distribute their beer either.

“[Brewpub law] was really designed to say, ‘How can we help you not succeed in your business?’” Fuller said.

Since its opening, Black Warrior Brewing Company has brewed several different beers, and the whole process has been a team effort. Other partners include Jason Spikes, Wayne Yarborough and Eric Hull. Each partner has different responsibilities to contribute to the Brewery, but they all share a passion for ?craft beer.

“Jason and I, we really didn’t know each other from work, but we were at an event and we were both drinking craft beer and struck up a conversation about beer,” Fuller said.

From there, the pair added other partners but maintained an enthusiasm for delivering a ?consistent product.

Fuller said Black Warrior Brewing Company draws a mixed crowd of customers, but he is most surprised by the amount of older college students.

“The reason I say it’s funny is that we did not build our demographic on that, because I’m 48, but when I was your age, it was quantity over quality,” he said.

Fuller attributes this change to education. He said he believes education has made the craft beer movement possible in Alabama, thanks to organizations like Free the Hops and the Alabama Brewers Guild.

In order to draw customers, Black Warrior Brewing Company has several themed nights. Mondays see the release of the new small batch beer. Tuesdays are trivia night and Fuller said they have been very successful. Wednesdays are gaming night in, and Thursdays are dedicated to ?live music.

John Sutton, a senior majoring in biology, said he enjoys the themed nights but comes in for the ?brown ale.

“It has a rich, bold flavor, but is very drinkable,” he said.

Sutton found out about Black Warrior Brewing Company through word of mouth.

“I like that they are typically more creative with their flavors and styles, and I enjoy supporting a local business that gives back to the ?community,” Sutton said.

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Black Warrior Brewing Company overcomes obstacles