Our story begins in the mid-1990’s when Raymond Pumilia, working from his first art studio in the New Orleans Central Business District began brewing on a large kitchen stove in the studio after a friend gave him a brewing kit. During this time period Brew Ha-Ha on Magazine Street was the primary retail outlet for home brewers, and Abita, Dixie and later on Acadian Brewing Company were the primary names identified with craft beer and small breweries in and around New Orleans.
Raymond continued to brew off and on as a hobby over the next 15 years while continuing his career in commercial photography, film and television in the roles of Lead, Set Decorating, Art Direction and Production Design. In a conversation with a close friend in a bar one night discussing their futures, Raymond was asked what was next professionally for him. He responded with, “I’m going to open a brewery.”
Intent on achieving his goal of opening a craft brewery where he could combine his passion for the science behind brewing craft beer with his family’s love for the art of cooking and entertaining, Raymond and his wife Mandy spent the next year researching and writing a business plan for their brewery, not knowing where the brewery would be located or how their plans would solidify. After completing the first draft of the business plan, the Pumilias set out to identify the best location and funding opportunities for their dream.
After identifying several locations, in November 2015, the Pumilias settled on a location in New Orleans East near the Lakefront Airport where their architect was also working on plans for the South Shore Harbor. In addition, the Tipitina’s Foundation planned to locate an Amphitheater and the National World War II Museum planned to locate a ship in the same area. The location was perfect with this type of activity on the horizon along with the heavily industrial zoning of the property and other like businesses in the area such as Folger’s Coffee, Luzianne Tea, Bunny Bread, Southshore Donuts & Grill. The Pumilias refer to the area as the Beverage and Yeast Belt of New Orleans and are excited to add Royal Brewery New Orleans to complete both belts of commerce.
Royal Brewery’s build-out was completed in March 2017, and the Pumilias, along with Head Brewer Michael Ogden, look to launch their first craft beer — Culicidae Ale — (koo-lis-a-dye) in early Spring 2017.
Thinking of opening a craft brewery, micro brewery, nano brewery or brew pub? We’d love to share our story with you in more detail and help you along the way.
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