Locally-made Delta Sunshine beer hits Memphis


Nate Carter, Todd Paden and Allison "Sunny' Higi of Delta Sunshine Brewery.
  • Nate Carter, Todd Paden and Allison "Sunny' Higi of Delta Sunshine Brewery.

Meet Delta Sunshine — a new line of locally brewed beers, which recently hit the Memphis restaurant/bar scene.

“We just launched here in Memphis and we’re getting ready to go in some other markets soon,” says Todd Paden, founder and president of Delta Sunshine Brewing Co. The beer is designed for craft beer drinkers as well as “people who might not necessarily be a craft beer drinker all the time. It’s a beer that’s locally made that meets what they’re looking for in terms of a great, well-made, sessionable beer.”

For now, the beer, which is being sold through Athens Distributing Co., will be served on draft in restaurants and bars. “We wanted these beers to complement what restaurants do. (They) have some good body and flavor going on. And won’t take away from the great food that these people are creating in restaurants around town.”

Later, they will go into retail, but “it’s on down the road quite a ways."

Paden’s family is from the Mississippi Delta, hence the name “Delta Sunshine,” he says. “The sunshine — the sunrises and sunsets — are some of the best in the world.”

The first three beers they’ve introduced are Hwy 61, Toll Booth Amber, and Room 414 Pale Ale.

Hwy. 61 is for beer drinkers who “want a nice, easy, clean, pilsner/lager beer.”

Toll Booth Amber is “more of a malt-based beer. We used five malts and three hops in it. So, what that creates is a nice coffee/based, bread, biscuity-type aroma when you’re smelling it. And it finishes nice and clean based on the hops that we used.”

Room 414 Pale Ale is “for the beer drinkers that like a hoppier beer. The hops that we chose build and have a nice floral aroma.”

It “finishes clean,” And it’s a hoppy beer that people can “enjoy more than one.”

Where did “Room 414” come from? “That’s the room that Robert Johnson recorded his first album in in Texas.”

The Delta blues figure as much as “sunshine” in their beer. Delta Sunshine Brewing will promote, support, and embrace blues artists from the Mississippi Delta. The brewery is committed to supporting groups that provide support and education to children in the Mississippi Delta area.

For now, Delta Sunshine beers are being brewed at City Brewery, the “old Coors, Schlitz plant on Raines Road.”

Brewers, he says, “can come in and use their equipment, basically. It’s state of the art. The best equipment you could possibly work with.”

Allison “Sunny” Higi, their brewmaster, “has her degree in biochemistry from Purdue. She was a scientist first.”

Paden grew up in the bar/restaurant business. His dad, Bill Paden, opened the original High Cotton on Cooper, South of Union. “My partner, Nate Carter, and I have spent every day since college in some kind of food service sales. We know restaurants really well and are able to go in and work with staff and talk to the customers.”

Delta Sunshine beer now is available at Central BBQ - Downtown, Local on the Square and Local on Main, The Green Beetle, Bardog Tavern, Aldo’s Pizza Pies, Slider Inn, Venice Kitchen, B. B. King’s Blues Club & Grill, Raffe’s Deli, Lucchesi’s Beer Garden, Young Avenue Deli, Amerigo Italian Restaurant, and The Casual Pint.

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