A home brewing hobby transforms into a new business venture for alumnus

University graduate Joe Ribando moved from home brewing to opening his own microbrewery, Low Road Brewing, in late March. He joins two other local breweries in Tangipahoa Parish. Ribando visited other breweries in Louisiana to find inspiration for his own business.  Zachary Araki/The Lion’s Roar

Joe Ribando turned his love of beer and home brewing into owning his microbrewery, Low Road Brewing. 

Ribando graduated from the university in 1988. He opened Low Road Brewing in late March this year. 

“About three years ago, I was bored, had nothing to do, so I started going to different breweries to try beer,” said Ribando. “It was a lot of fun, so I visited almost every brewery in Louisiana. All vacations were based on where breweries were. I started home brewing three years ago. One thing led to another. I love craft beer. I just want everybody else to have the same opportunity I did.”

 

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The name, Low Road Brewing, alludes to the section of Highway 51 between Laplace and Hammond and matches the brewery’s road theme. Ribando used inspiration from the breweries he visited. 

“Everyone had their little twist,” said Ribando. “What I tried to do is take what I liked from each one and apply it here. The board I have has got ABV and IBU very prominent. They have the color of the beer. When you’re first learning craft beer, you want to know if it’s going to be that dark beer or is it going to be a lighter beer. So, on the board you can see that. To the flights, having cards on the back of the beers so you can easily see what beer you’re drinking without having to try to figure it out. Little things like that, but the main thing was getting good beer and trying to find beers that had lots of flavor and tasted the way you liked it.”

Low Road Brewing keeps 30 taps. Customer favorites include the Lemon-Blueberry Ale and the Peanut Butter Porter. 

“Everybody’s got a different palate,” said Ribando. “A lot of people like IPAs, so I have two IPAs that people like. A lot of people just like porters, so I tell people, ‘It’s whatever’s on your palate.”

Ribando joined Hammond’s two other local breweries in Tangipahoa Parish. Relations among the businesses resemble a fraternity type friendship more than competition. 

“It’s like a brotherhood,” Ribando said. “I mean Zac at Gnarly Barley is a great guy. He’s helped me out a great deal when I was home brewing. Andy at the Louisiana Purchase is brand new. He’s great. We help each other out, no competition at all. We’re all in it together, and we all just want to make better beer. I tell people all the time, ‘Today is the peanut butter at the Gnarly Barley. You need to go buy that. It’s a great beer.’ ‘When you leave here, don’t forget to go to the Louisiana Purchase. They’re open just down the street.’”

The presence of breweries can encourage economic growth and attract visitors. 

“The more breweries you have is gonna bring tourists in,” Ribando said. “It’s not just for local people. When people travel, they look for different breweries, and if you’ve got three, four breweries in the same area, you’re gonna get people stopping to try those beers and put money into the economy. So, I’m excited that we have three breweries. I’d love to see more.”

Low Road Brewing is located at 1110 C M Fagan Drive.

 

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