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January 26, 2020

Meet the Founder of the First Black-Owned Brewery in the South

Jon Renthrope, founder of Cajun Fire Brewing

Jon Renthrope, a 32-year old entrepreneur and founder of New Orleans-based brewery Cajun Fire Brewing, has made history as the first Black brewmaster in the state of Louisiana. He is also the first African American to own a brewing company in the South.
Renthrope, who was severely affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, first thought of the idea of putting up a brewery when he came back to his homeland New Orleans in 2010. He noticed that there was no craft brewing business in the city and he wanted to be the first one to establish one.

After a year, with the help and guidance from other experienced brewers in the country, he and his team were able to launch Cajun Fire Brewing. They started out setting up stalls at festivals and events for the celebratory crowds at New Orleans, earning profitable amounts even with just a small capital.

The company became more widely-known since it joined prestigious events at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History as well as the Essence Fest. They were able to feature their unique flavors that were mostly inspired by cultural references in New Orleans, such as the Mardi Gras Chief Shaka Zulu.

So far, they have produced a total of 9 flavors, 2 of which are already available in the market -- the Acadiana Honey Ale and Big Chief Stout. Their customers loved its smooth, unique taste.

Later this year, Renthrope is set to open his first brick and mortar in a 10-acre property he purchased in New Orleans. A production warehouse, cultural museum, a taproom, and an events place will also be built in the facility.

"Our property is in East New Orleans which is a predominately Black area that is often overlooked by the city's tourism funds," Renthrope told Travel Noire. "I'm aiming to create quality jobs within the area and economic development. Also, building civic pride amongst the community."

For more information about Cajun Fire Brewing, visit www.drinkcajunfire.com