Southeastern Channel to air taste of north shore
Contact: Christina Chapple
HAMMOND -- A tour of wine and beer-making processes on the north shore highlights an upcoming episode of “Northshore Gems,” a local travel show produced by the Southeastern Channel, Southeastern Louisiana University’s educational cable access channel on Charter Cable Channel 18.
The program will debut Wednesday, Feb. 4, at 8 p.m., on the Southeastern Channel and will continue airing at that time on Wednesdays and Saturdays for the next three weeks.
The latest episode takes viewers to a pair of north shore tourist attractions, the Abita Brewery in Abita Springs and Amato’s Winery in Independence.
“A lot of people don’t realize all that goes into making beer or wine or that such industries exist on the north shore,” said Rick Settoon, Southeastern Channel general manager. “This program takes an educational look at the combination of natural and technological processes which yield the end products they’re familiar with.”
The show is hosted and narrated by Southeastern Channel reporter Corey Broman-Fulks. Staff member David Fox photographed and edited the program.
“This show goes further behind the scenes than tourists are allowed,” Broman-Fulks said. “I can nearly guarantee that viewers will see or hear something in this show that they didn’t know before.”
In the first segment, Broman-Fulks tours the Abita Brewery, famous for its Abita Beer. President David Blossman illustrates the growth of the brewery, which sold 1,500 barrels a year out of the back of a truck when it opened in 1986 and today sells more than 90,000 barrels each year in 38 states.
According to Blossman, the quality and purity of Abita’s natural water spring is the secret to the brewery’s success. He said the brewery tries to match the taste of its beer to the authentic cuisine and culture of Louisiana such as Cajun, Creole and Zydeco.
Broman-Fulks interviews beermaster Mark Wilson who explains the process of mixing ingredients such as malted barley, hops and yeast. Broman-Fulks then follows Wilson to the fermenting tanks and through the bottling plant before sampling several of Abita’s trademark ales and lagers, including the Amber Beer, Turbo Dog, Restoration Ale and Purple Haze.
“Northshore Gems” next travels to Amato’s Winery where Broman-Fulks interviews owner and operator Henry Amato in his vineyard located on the site of a former plantation estate near Independence.
Amato says his winery specializes in fruit wines and is a natural extension of decades of wine-making by local strawberry farmers. Established in 1999, Amato’s Winery produces 400 cases of wine per day.
Amato shows Broman-Fulks his vineyard’s muscadine grapes and bunch grapes and the fermenting room with 5,000 gallon stainless steel tanks.
Broman-Fulks joins Amato in his special wine-tasting room, sampling his collection of strawberry, blackberry, muscadine, blueberry, cranberry, orange and peach wines.
Both brewing facilities are open daily for tour groups.
The Southeastern Channel has won more than 90 national and international awards over the last four years, including six regional Emmy Awards. The channel can be seen on Charter Cable Channel 18 in Tangipahoa, Livingston and St. Tammany parishes, Channel 17 in Washington Parish, and online at www.selu.edu/tv.