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3 months ago

Alabama brewery hosts grand opening celebration reflective of its Port City home

It took a lot longer than expected for Haint Blue to get its brewery open in Mobile, so they decided to savor and celebrate the moment with proper Port City polish.

On Nov. 9, Haint Blue beers were served at Callaghan’s Irish Social Club before a second line formed to parade to the grand opening of Haint Blue Brewing Co. in the former Crystal Ice House building a couple of blocks away.

“We dance in the streets.  We have brass bands for no reason other than they’re fun.  Joe Cain is dressing up as an Indian,” said an excited Keith Sherrill, owner and founder of Haint Blue.  “It made me feel closer to this place and reminded me of things that are special.”

Sherrill’s excitement and relief were understandable.  He announced plans to build the brewery nearly two years ago.  The former U.S. Army Ranger and medevac pilot in Afghanistan was looking to launch a post-military business.

Some permitting and zoning challenges and concerns from at least one neighboring property owner delayed Haint Blue’s start.  In the interim, the brewery started contract brewing and bottling its beers at Lazy Magnolia Brewery in Kiln, Mississippi.

Sherrill said that ended up being a blessing.

“Although we were in a holding pattern, we also didn’t know what we didn’t know, so in all of that we learned some things that likely helped us get on our feet and not pour a batch down the drain when we started in here,” he said.

Head brewer Matt Wheeler said although he knew all about the brewing process, being around it at another brewery really helped in establishing the processes in Mobile.

“The time over there was invaluable,” he said. “We were able to pull it off here without a hitch.”

With the tap room, the murals on the wall, the décor and the brew tanks, there is no doubt that you’re inside a brewery when you walk into the new Haint Blue.  But there is very much a sense of history with the elements of the old ice house that still come through.

“We kept what we could and we fought for the things that didn’t sound like a good idea initially, but fortunately we had some contractors and architects and those kind of folks who really helped what was in my head actually come to fruition,” Sherrill said.

Out in the courtyard a bottle tree adds to the ambiance.  The Mobile skyline is visible and just over the wall is the grave of Joe Cain, the founder of Mardi Gras as we know it in Mobile.

The legend of Joe Cain lives on with those who carry on his tradition of dressing as characters to lead parades like the second line.  Actor Wayne Dean had that honor for the Haint Blue celebration.

“I’m honored to be the fourth person, counting Joe Cain, to personify Chief Slacabamorinico,” Dean said.

Dean said by reviving the characters that Joe Cain originally brought to life, Mobile is able to connect its past to its present.

That was part of the reason Sherrill wanted to start the parade at Callaghan’s.  The Mobile institution is where Haint Blue debuted its first beer in the city that is now its home.

Sherrill hopes that like Callaghan’s, Haint Blue will become a Mobile institution.

“I really want to be a place that belongs in Mobile,” Sherrill said.

The fact that Sherrill opened the brewery on Veterans Day weekend is not a coincidence, said the Army veteran.

“This is an everyone bar.  A veteran happens to run it,” Sherrill said.  “At the same time, I think veterans happen to be doing a lot of good things and I like the opportunity of getting to be a brand ambassador and share it with other veterans coming in.  Like, ‘Hey, look what we can do.’ That’s what I want people to see.”

By selling its beer in stores and in bars, Haint Blue has already built a following – something that was apparent with the large crowd that showed up for the opening.

“It’s overwhelming right now,” Wheeler said. “I’m just trying to make the beer pour faster.”

For the launch, Haint Blue was pouring three versions of India pale ales, or IPAs.  But Wheeler promised there will be more beer variations and some experimental beers to come.  He wants to do stouts, a porter and some barrel-aged beers in addition to Haint Blue’s popular saffron saison.

“We will be able to get a lot more creative moving forward,” Wheeler said.

Sherrill hopes the crowd is a sign of what’s to come.

“I hope people continue to support us and this just isn’t a one-night thing,” he said.  “We’re going to make good beer.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

2 hours ago

Auburn Police officer shot in the line of duty

An Auburn Police Department officer was shot in the line of duty Friday evening.

Sources reportedly confirmed the shooting to WVTM. The condition of the officer was not immediately known.

The shooting occurred at the Dollar General near Niffer’s Place off of Opelika Road.

WSFA was on the scene live in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, which resulted in a massive police presence. The suspect is believed to still be at-large, with a “manhunt” underway.

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This comes after Birmingham Police Department Sgt. Wytasha Carter and Mobile Police Department Officer Sean Tuder were shot and killed in the line of duty in recent weeks.

This is breaking news and may be updated.

Update 8:00 p.m.:

WSFA posted a new live stream.

Update 8:15 p.m.:

Police administrators told reporters the incident occurred shortly after 5:30 p.m. as the officer pulled the suspect’s vehicle over responding to an armed robbery call. The officer was talking and alert when he left the scene. More on his condition was not released by law enforcement on the scene. The officer was shot “multiple” times. His name has also not been released.

The suspect is Christopher James Wallace. He is 38 years old. A female was in the vehicle with Wallace at the time of the shooting. Her name is not being released at this time.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 hours ago

Del Marsh on Trump declaration: ‘It is an emergency — It is about protecting this country’

Alabama Senate leader Del Marsh (R-Anniston) voiced his support for President Donald Trump’s latest action on border security while blaming Democrats for their inability to fix the long-standing issue.

In an interview with Yellowhammer News, Marsh said he supports Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency along the Mexican border.

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Marsh explained that the urgency of the threat made it necessary.

“It is an emergency,” Marsh stated. “It is about protecting this country. That’s where the threat is. The threat is the southern border. All our borders should be secure. But the threat right now is the southern border. No one can deny that.”

When asked where border security should rank among the country’s priorities, Marsh said border security should be number one.

And he expressed frustration at how policy-makers have approached the issue.

“I cannot for the life of me understand how people in Congress can put people who are not citizens of this country above our citizens’ welfare, and that’s what I see happening,” he remarked.

He cited a single reason why, in his mind, the issue of border security has gone on for so long without resolution.

“Politics,” Marsh declared.

Specifically, he believes Democrats view illegal immigration as providing a pool of potential new voters and that has threatened national security.

“They have put that above the safety of the citizens of this country,” he said. “Democrats are basically saying, ‘Don’t worry about a process. Come on! We’re your buddies!’”

Marsh also pointed out the fact that he has already filed a bill in the Alabama legislature to allow Alabamians to help build the wall.

The legislation would provide taxpayers the option of checking a box on their tax returns should they want to donate to We Build the Wall, Inc.

Marsh has already donated to the fund himself.

“It’s about sending a message to this president, President Trump, that we support him and by sending these dollars to build the wall, showing our support for him,” he explained. “I believe it and I think the people of Alabama believe that security is the most important thing, the most important issue at this point in time. We want to support the wall, and we want to see the wall built.”

Tim Howe is an owner and editor of Yellowhammer News.

3 hours ago

Alabama Supreme Court reinstates Alabama Memorial Preservation Act

Attorney General Steve Marshall announced Friday that the Alabama Supreme Court has granted the state’s motion to stay a recent “[erroneous]” Jefferson County Circuit Court judgment that declared the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017 to be unconstitutional.

This means the law, which prohibits the removal and alteration of monuments more than 40 years old on public property, will still be in effect while the state appeals the decision. Marshall requested the stay three weeks ago.

“I am pleased that the Alabama Supreme Court has granted the State’s motion to stay the Circuit Court’s ruling,” the attorney general said in a statement. “We think that U.S. Supreme Court precedent clearly demonstrates that the Circuit Court erred in striking down the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act. Thus, we asked the Alabama Supreme Court to preserve the status quo regarding the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Linn Park until the Court rules on our appeal.”

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It was reported that the City of Birmingham was considering removing the monument at the center of the controversy after the law was struck down. The Sailors Monument has been covered by a large black wall since August 2017, near the end of former Mayor William Bell’s tenure.

“The Supreme Court’s stay allows the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act to remain in effect until the Supreme Court resolves this appeal over the Act’s constitutionality. We continue to hold that the Circuit Court erred when it ruled that the U.S. Constitution grants cities free speech rights that they can enforce against the State,” Marshall added. “For more than a century, the U.S. Supreme Court has held just the opposite, recognizing that ‘a political subdivision, created by the state for the better ordering of government, has no privileges or immunities under the federal constitution which it may invoke in opposition to the will of its creator.’ We look forward to presenting these arguments to the Alabama Supreme Court.”

The Supreme Court’s order Friday also stayed the accrual of any financial penalties under the law.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

6 hours ago

David Cole departs Alabama Farmers Federation for BCA

The Business Council of Alabama (BCA) is adding another star to its governmental affairs team.

Shortly after breaking BCA’s hiring of Molly Cagle from Manufacture Alabama, sources confirmed to Yellowhammer News that Alabama Farmers Federation Director of State Affairs David Cole is coming on board at the same time.

Cole, like Cagle, is joining BCA’s governmental affairs staff effective February 28, just in time for the March 5 start of the state legislative session. Most recently, Cole spearheaded the federation’s lobbying efforts in the Alabama House of Representatives.

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Sources confirmed to Yellowhammer News Friday that federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan sent out an email announcing Cole’s departure and thanking him for his commitment to Alabama agriculture — the state’s biggest industry. Pinyan also outlined how the staff would be moved around in response to Cole leaving.

Director of External Affairs Matthew Durdin – and his staff members, Director of Agricultural Legislation Preston Roberts and administrative assistant Jessica Mims – will now be involved in some state governmental affairs work. Former Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman, who has been working as a political consultant for the federation, will now add governmental affairs work on contract.

An official announcement with details of the federation’s staff changes is expected to be released in the coming week.

Update, 6:15 p.m.:

BCA President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt announced the two major additions in an internal email sent out to the business council’s leadership Friday evening. Britt took the reigns of BCA January 2. Cagle and Cole are her first hires.

The email detailed that Cole is being named senior vice president of governmental affairs and Cagle vice president of governmental affairs.

“These two additions to our team position the BCA to serve our members and advocate effectively on behalf of the business community,” Britt wrote.

Mark Colson, who most recently filled in as BCA’s interim president after serving as chief of staff and senior vice president for governmental affairs, will continue to serve the organization in his new role as senior advisor through the transition period.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

6 hours ago

Molly Cagle joining BCA from Manufacture Alabama

One of Alabama’s rising stars in the governmental affairs world is on the move.

Sources confirmed to Yellowhammer News Friday that Manufacture Alabama (MA) Director of External Affairs Molly Cagle has accepted a governmental affairs position with the Business Council of Alabama (BCA). While an exact title has yet to be released, Cagle is expected to bolster BCA’s legislative affairs team.

The hire marks the first in BCA President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt’s tenure. She was hired by the organization’s executive committee in December and took office January 2.

Cagle’s last day at MA is February 20, according to an email from her to the association’s membership obtained by Yellowhammer News.

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“My time at Manufacture Alabama over the last four and a half years has been incredibly rewarding. The friendships, lessons, and advice are things that I cherish and will take with me throughout my career,” she wrote.

Cagle comes to BCA with an impressive track record in legislative work, including past service as the Senate Liaison for Alabama Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh. She received her bachelor’s in Political Science, with a minor in Broadcast Journalism, from Troy University.

Named to Yellowhammer Multimedia’s “Power and Influence: Who’s Next?” list for 2018, Cagle will be a major addition to BCA as the organization refocuses on its pro-jobs mission of “making a sweet home for business” in Alabama.

Cagle’s email noted, “As I prepare to take on my new role, I want to assure everyone that the staff at Manufacture Alabama has taken the steps to make my departure as seamless as possible. A special thank you to George Clark for his guidance and support not only over the last several years but also throughout this process.”

The state legislative session begins March 5.

As of Friday at 2:30 p.m., BCA had taken down its online staff directory. An official announcement of the hire is expected in the coming days.

Update, 6:15 p.m.:

Cagle is being named BCA’s vice president of governmental affairs.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn