Community involvement Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2010
Finalist
Retail & Wholesale

When hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the New Orleans community, David Blossman decided to help the best way he knew how — by making beer.

As president of Abita Brewing Co. LLC, he created Abita Fleur-de-lis Restoration Ale after seeing so many people lose their homes and places of business to the hurricanes. The restoration project meant that his employees could return to work and actively help their community heal. One dollar from each six-pack sold went to the restoration effort, and proceeds from the new brew raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. Inspired by the ale’s success, Blossman decided to use the company’s 20th birthday celebration as a way to help the Louisiana Restaurant Association’s Employee Relief Fund. That’s typical of Blossman’s efforts to involve his entire company in charity efforts by encouraging employees to volunteer time at fundraising events.

Blossman’s love of brewing started at an early age — he entered home-brewing contests as a child but was often too young to collect the prizes. Later, as an adult, after acting as an investor in the company, he took over in 1996. Abita’s home state of Louisiana is a vital part of its identity. And Blossman sees to it that as many ingredients as possible come from the state. For example, the Strawberry Harvest Lager uses strawberries from the state, and the Pecan Harvest Ale includes Louisiana’s own natural pecans.

Blossman also hosts local events to promote his brand, such as gourmet beer dinners and pub crawls. He also expanded the company’s marketing tactics into social media and recently produced a beer cookbook.

Blossman’s determination and his love of brewing kept the company moving forward after the storms, and he plans to expand production to all 50 states in the near future.

How to reach: Abita Brewing Co., (800) 737-2311 or www.abita.com