Yalobusha Brewery: Only microbrewery in north Mississippi to offer much more

Published 6:00 am Sunday, June 4, 2017

In just under four years, the Yalobusha Brewing Company based in Water Valley has made a name for itself as the only microbrewery in northern Mississippi.

But a Facebook post on May 27 from owner Andy O’Bryan announced a plan to alter the course of the already successful business.

O’Bryan wrote that Yalobusha Brewing would be transforming into a brewpub. In addition to their line of beer that could be bought on premises (thanks to new legislation), food and a coffee bar would also be offered. However, the company plans to cease its distribution, making Water Valley the only place to have a cold Yalobusha pint or half-pint.

Email newsletter signup

“We’re going to be brewing multiple batches a day and really create a place where you can come in here and have 12 different styles,” O’Bryan said while in the brewing room of the company.

The brewery is situated in a historic building that was once a foundry and then a Ford Motor dealership in the early part of the 20th century.

“We have some catch-up to do on the state level, because no one has ever made the transition we’re making. I’ve already got all my federal licenses in place. We’re trailblazing a little bit.”

O’Bryan bought the building in 2013 along with the brand’s co-founders (O’Bryan’s wife, Macon, and Mac and Joli Nichols). Yalobusha shipped its first beer in October of that year. O’Bryan says he has done little to update the old building’s interior (he also points out where Ford Motors’ potbelly stove burned all the paint away on one patch of the floor).

In the time since shipping their first batches, the company has expanded distribution into Louisiana and Tennessee. Before announcing their transition to a brewpub, O’Bryan was on the verge of getting his products into Alabama and Arkansas as well.

For the new brewpub, YBC will be partnering with Oxford businesses Heartbreak Coffee and Rebel Barn barbecue who will have new locations within the brewery. Vintage arcade games will also be added to the front hall of the space.

“The noise from the video games won’t disturb you if you’re having a beer or sitting in the coffee shop,” O’Bryan is quick to note. “The versatility 90 years later from when Ford compartmentalized this space is really still shining.”

Future expansion

O’Bryan also spoke on the expansion of the hours for the business. The brewpub currently has a tentative opening date for July.

“We’ve got a big weekend only business here, but we feel like to help the town pull up, we thought we want to be a full-time place,” he said. “We’re going to do Monday through Saturday nights. We’ve got a whole lot of lunch places in town, but we don’t have a lot of evening places. There’s no barbecue restaurant at all.”

The YBC also has plans for possible brewpubs that could pop up in Oxford and Tupelo. But O’Bryan made it clear that these are separate concepts from his flagship brewery in Water Valley.