BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - From fire trucks to cold brews, a historic building in Downtown Bossier City is set to be transformed into a brewery.
When taking a first look at the former Fire Station 6, some may see just an old building. But for three Bossier couples, they saw the building as a way to take their brewing club to the next level.
Jason LeBleu, Jennifer Maxwell, Ben Hart, Leah Hart, Ben Patillo, and Elizabeth Patillo make up the group of friends who call their brewing company, Flying Heart Bewing, a labor of love.
"Each of the three couples involved in the venture have come together through a convergence of ideas and complementary goals," a spokesman for the company said. "They all started as friends that shared a love of creative expression. Although the concept of craft brewing was introduced rather off-handedly, the art and science and fun appealed to each on many different levels."
They describe their adventure as starting as an interesting weekend challenge that, "rapidly escalated into an obsession that led to intense academic study and constant upgrading of equipment because the more they knew, the more they wanted to expand their creations," the spokesman said.
The City Council gave the group of friends the green light on Tuesday to buy the $190,000 building to transform it into a microbrewery. The brewery plans to keep the historical look both on the inside and outside of the building.
According to the company spokesman, the namesake of Flying Heart pays tribute to Ben Hart's family brand from his home of Washington State. Ben grew up in one of our country's premier craft brewing regions and came by his love of same very naturally.
Longtime Bossier City resident Bill Alley is intrigued by the idea, "I'm not real familiar with breweries and things like that but I think it is a good idea that any building be restored," said Alley.
Alley hopes the new business will start the process of returning downtown Bossier City to the way it was in its glory days. "It was very prosperous, I remember coming here as a kid, visiting and shopping and all of those things," said Alley.
Claudio Giacalone, owner of this L'Italiano restaurant, just across the street from the old fire house, explained he has one thing he is looking forward to, "When I was in Montreal, there was a street where there was a brewery," he said. "The smell of the brewery, there is a particular smell, it's pretty nice, so maybe I will have the same smell again, I don't know."
He believes his new neighbor may even help boost his business by attracting new customers to the area. "I am very confident that it is a plus," he said.
"The city administration thinks the brewery will be a welcome addition to downtown Bossier City and hopes it will serve as a springboard for further commercial development there," City Spokesman Mark Natale said in an emailed statement.
District 3 City councilman Don Williams echoed those thoughts, "I think it will be great for the old Bossier downtown area. We are having some interest shown down there so maybe we can get it jump started."
Councilman Thomas Harvey of district 5, believes this is the beginning of the revitalization of the downtown area. "A lot of properties that have been sitting vacant should become prime real estate for developing businesses in the downtown area," he said.
"Revenue, for the city, will be generated from the sale of the properties as well as property taxes and any sales taxes that are generated."
A spokesman for Flying Heart Brewery says there is still a lot for them to do. They need to officially buy the building and also apply for the right permits.
Flying Heart Brewery hopes to open their doors after the first of 2015.