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La's old laws prevent new breweries from sharing samples at Oktoberfest

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SHREVEPORT, La. -

Louisiana's old laws may prevent new breweries from sharing samples at Shreveport's two beer-based events: Oktoberfest and BREW.

Brewery owners say it's a missed opportunity for marketing and customer feedback.

"For Oktoberfest we were going to be bringing this fest beer," Lindsay Nations said as she opened a cooler at Great Rafting Brewing, one of Shreveport's two upcoming breweries.

Nations is opening Great Raft with her husband Andrew Nations at 1251 Dalzell St.

Lindsay Nations says they had planned to attend the upcoming Oktoberfest event, even brewing 10-gallons each of a fest beer, a India Pale Lager, and a flagship beer called Reasonably Corrupt. Although the Great Raft crew put in 5-8 hours on each brew day, the kegs are staying in the cooler, for now.

"It was going to be a great way to help people get more excited about our grand opening here in just a couple of months," Nations said. "We wanted to have the opportunity for people to share our beer and give us some feedback, but unfortunately we won't be able to do that."

The Nations are caught in a permit limbo. They previously shared samples under the Louisiana homebrew law.

However, once they applied for a state licence the Nations ceased being homebrewers and Great Raft became a brewery-in-planning. Now there's no way for Great Raft to legally hand-out samples until they receive their new state licenses.

Great Raft isn't the only future business in this boat.

Shreveport's other new brewery, Red River Brewing Co. will be beer-less at Oktoberfest as well. Co-owner Beau Raines says Red River representatives will be there to promote the company, answer questions and sell merchandise, but they will not have samples.

In a Facebook post Thursday, Hammond-based Gnarly Barley Brewing cited the ATC regulations as their reason for leaving New Orleans On Tap.

While they will take Oktoberfest off the ca lender, the Nations are still pushing forward towards the next big event, hoping their licenses are approved before Shreveport's BREW.

"BREW is the event," Nations says. "Hopefully in the next couple of weeks we'll be able to get the state license finished up. We'll be able to participate, and we're really excited."

While Great Raft is hoping to have everything in place for BREW, Red River is slightly ahead in the licensing process and will likely be able to hand out samples at the Festival Plaza event.

Organizers say last year's Oktoberfest drew about 500 people out, despite pouring rain.

BREW had even bigger crowds and sold-out ahead of tastings.

Additional links:

Great Raft Brewing

Red River Brewery Co.

shreveportBREW.com

shreveportoktoberfest.com

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