Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company

By Kathryn Corr

Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company is the brainchild of Mark and Leslie Henderson. Surprisingly, the first step toward the founding of Lazy Magnolia happened one Christmas when Leslie bought Mark a homebrew kit because she couldn’t think of anything else to get him!

Mark only got to brew one batch of beer before Leslie took over the brewing operations, leaving Mark to design new equipment, tools, and gadgets to make the brewing process run more smoothly. It didn’t take long for this hobby to take over the house and all of their free time.

Friends and family were so impressed with the homemade creations that they encouraged the couple to go pro. They started doing some serious research to answer some basic questions about the legal status of breweries in Mississippi and the potential market for specialty beer in the state. Much to their surprise, all answers came back positive.

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Lazy Magnolia from Lazy Magnolia on Vimeo.

Leslie entered the American Brewers Guild Brewing School in July 2003 and followed that with an apprenticeship at Crescent City Brewhouse in the spring of 2004. During this time, Mark was hard at work developing a business plan, performing market research, designing logos, securing financing, and searching for just the right location for the company. Leslie worked on recipe development and searched the nation for high quality brewing equipment to scale-up the recipes from 5-gallon to 500-gallon batches.

The schedule progressed rapidly after Leslie’s internship. A building was secured in September 2004; the brewing equipment was delivered in October and fully set-up by December. The dream became a reality in January 2005, when the first batch of beer was brewed on the Lazy Magnolia system. The first kegs of beer hit the market on the Gulf Coast in March 2005.

Hurricane Katrina briefly shut down operations and destroyed the couple’s home, but beer was flowing again by October. As of June 2006, Lazy Magnolia was distributing beers throughout Mississippi. Since then, Lazy Magnolia has added Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Tennessee to their distribution area, and produced five different beers. This small company has grown a lot over the last 5 years!