The seed for Urban South was planted during the year I spent in Europe. Tasting Belgian and English ales and German lagers right from the source, I understood for the first time how big the chasm was between the beer my ancestors drank and the mass-market stuff I grew up with at home in South Louisiana. Naturally, as a good Cajun and Southerner, I knew I had to share the gospel of good beer.
At Urban South, we’re combining the heritage of European beer-making with the brashness of new American styles. With deep roots in Louisiana, our award-winning brewery inspires community with excellent craft beers that are easy to drink and perfect for the Southern climate. We operate with fearlessness and integrity in an effort to brew the South’s most respected beer.
Our vision is to build an enduring company that embodies the values and traditions of the Urban South. We seek to be strong community partners and produce world-class beer.
Founder & President
Jacob is a Cajun from Southwest Louisiana who developed a passion for craft beer while living in Europe during college. He worked in education, first as a teacher and later in management where he oversaw strategy for Louisiana's largest school district. Jacob holds undergraduate degrees from Louisiana State University and an MBA from Tulane University.
Co-Founder & Vice President
Kyle brings 10 years of experience in beer distribution, most recently as the founder of the Louisiana Craft Beer team at Southern Eagle – a unit focused on building the craft beer portfolio for the distributor. Huling is a lifelong New Orleanian with a degree from Louisiana State University and an MBA from Loyola University.
Human Resources Manager
Courtney is from South Carolina and graduated with a Political Science degree from Furman University and a Masters in Teaching from the University of Hawaii. She worked with Teach For America for five years and then spent seven years with the ReNEW Charter Schools network in New Orleans overseeing literacy programs and building six school libraries. as mom to four New Orleans-born children, she’s an advocate for child friendly breweries!
Debbie is a New Orleans native who received her bachelor's degree in Kinesiology from Southeastern Louisiana University. She has over 15 years of experience in office administration and bookkeeping primarily in the medical field. She is a mother of three adorable children, one of the lead choreographers for a local Mardi Gras dance group, teaches several adult and child dance classes in the New Orleans metro area, and is a licensed massage therapist.
Born and raised in Orlando, Florida. Amanda moved to Birmingham, Alabama in 2012 where she attended Samford University and obtained her Bachelor's degree in English. Not only did she gain administrative experience in Birmingham, but she also discovered her love for breweries and good beer. She is new to New Orleans, but already loving the incredible food and music. Outside of work, she enjoys attending concerts, learning to cook, and traveling to National Parks.
Bubby was born and raised in New Orleans. Before Urban South, he operated facilities for a chain of 13 Sprint and Boost Mobile stores and then spent 8 ½ years fixing cars, most recently 5 ½ years as the supervisor of a fleet of police cars. He and his wife love traveling in their free time, especially to music festivals. They also love going on hikes with their two dogs! Bubby is a big video gamer, Go LA Thieves! He's a major New Orleans Pelicans and Penn St. Wrestling fan. He loves to hang out on Bayou St. John, do tourist days in the French Quarter, and see local comedians at Comedy House NOLA.
Director of Brewing Operations
Chris was born in Denver and moved to Pennsylvania when he was young. He attended Rutgers University in NJ and graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering. After college, he knew he wanted to eventually become a brewer, so he went to the American Brewers Guild in Vermont and earned his Brewing Science and Engineering certification. His brewing career began at Harpoon in Vermont, but he spent about 12 years in NJ running River Horse Brewing Company. After that, he moved down south with his family to work at Abita as Head Brewer for about two years before joining the Urban South team. While he's not spending time with his wife and 2 young children, he enjoys making things in his woodshop, throwing pottery on his wheel, making homemade soap, and playing guitar. He loves cooking and finds that combining ingredients and flavors translates into his love of brewing.
KJ Hebert grew up in Cut Off, LA. He went to Northwestern State University in Natchitoches and graduated with a Computer Information Systems and Business Administration degree. He started working in restaurants in college and has been there ever since, with twelve of those years at Chilis. He is a homebrewer and huge craft beer supporter. He has participated in obstacle course racing for the last five years and is about to finish building a forge. KJ and his wife have four kids. As a family, they like camping, board games, movies and music.
Indy is originally from Indiana, but has lived all over. He started home brewing while living in Seattle. In Mobile, AL, he worked at The Cannon Brew Pub as a bar manager/assistant brewer. He has worked at NOLA Brewing in the cellar. He returned to Indianapolis and worked at Fountain Square Brewing Co and was promoted to Head Brewer, taking over operations at New Day Craft Mead & Cider as well. Indy has completed the WBA Concise Course in Brewing Technology. He is happily married to his fantastic wife, Traci and has two spectacular step kids, as well as a dog & two cats. When not brewing, Indy loves cooking, smoking BBQ, & fishing if I wake up early enough.
Kevin was raised in rural Ohio and lived a few years in North Carolina as well as Colorado. He moved to New Orleans in 2005 as an arborist and studied music theory at UNO. Around 2010, he got into homebrewing and began his first brewery job at NOLA Brewing in 2015. More recently, he worked at Second Line Brewing. Outside of work, he enjoys hiking, camping, and woodworking.
Ryan is originally from Gulf Shores and grew up in Mobile, AL. He attended the University of Southern Miss. After graduation, he spent five years brewing at Big Beach Brewing Co in Gulf Shores. During his time there, he won gold in the World Beer Cup amongst other beer competitions. In his free time, he enjoys live music, collecting vinyl, cooking, spending time with his dog, Phoebe, and cheering on Alabama and the Saints. Now that he's in New Orleans, he loves visiting all the music venues (Tips, Maple Leaf, etc.) On a free weekend, he also enjoys getting hot plates at random corner stores and going to Saints games!
Shalanda is from North Brunswick, NJ. She's Jersey born and raised! She attended Westminster Choir College of Rider University which was in Princeton, NJ. Shalanda has an undergraduate degree in Music Education for kindergarten through 12th grade. She also has a brewing science certification from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, PA. Her brewing career began in 2019 at Triumph Brewing Company in Princeton, NJ. Later she worked at Village Brewing Company in Somerville, NJ till April 2023 when she moved to New Orleans and started at Urban South. Shalanda loves singing, beating all of her friends and family in air hockey, and traveling
Julie is a New Orleans native who graduated from UNO. She started in the brewing industry at Abita as a trainee and worked her way up to head brewer. She recently was part of the NOLA Brewing team, working as a brewer and lead cellar. In 2018, she won a trip to Germany and was able to fulfill a dream of going to Octoberfest in Munich. Julie loves spending time on the water and cheering on the Tigers and Saints with her partner Marisa and their two dogs, Nola and Beaux.
Ryan Ulicsni was born and raised in Destrehan, LA. He went to Destrehan High School. For ten years, he swam competitively for multiple organizations. Ryan previously worked in IT and left to pursue a dream of working in brewing. An interesting fact about Ryan: he can solve a Rubik’s cube in about 45 seconds.
Director of Sales & Marketing
Josh is from Tampa, FL but has had the opportunity to call many cities home. He holds a Theater degree from NYU, a Masters of Historic Preservation from the University of Florida, and a passion for beer in his gut. After a 3 year adventure back in Tampa, Josh has returned to NOLA where he was previously the craft brand manager at Southern Eagle and one of the first taproom bartenders at Urban South. When not consuming beer and food with friends and family, he can often be found (much to the chagrin of his wife) chatting up strangers about literally anything and everything.
Digital Marketing Manager
Kristin is from Baton Rouge, and went to LSU where she majored in digital advertising and got her start working as the creative director for LSU's Legacy magazine. After moving to New Orleans in 2018, her career shifted into project coordination as she was a creative team lead for a trade show exhibit design company. When she's not taking pictures of beer, you can find her painting watercolors of various food and plants.
Social Media Coordinator/Tour Guide
A two-time team USA figure skater, Jolie hails from Michigan but has called New Orleans home since attending Tulane University with a degree in Marketing. With experience ranging from community garden management to lifeguarding and interning at Urban South, Jolie brings a colorful perspective to the social media coordinating position. In her free time, Jolie enjoys hanging out with friends, drinking Paradise Park, and skating when she can.
Brittany Huling was born and raised in the greater New Orleans area and went to LSU (where she met Kyle) and graduated with a degree in Interior Design. She worked as an interior designer for 6 years before becoming a stay-at-home mom of twin girls. In 2013 she began an invitation and stationery business on Etsy, which gradually expanded into logo design and graphic design work for a variety of different types of businesses, including Urban South. She now designs craft beer packaging and marketing materials.
Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Kat moved to New Orleans in 2018 where she studied graphic design and art history at Loyola University. Outside of work, Kat enjoys making jewelry, experimenting with makeup looks, and visiting her mom and three-legged dog, Demi, in the mountains of North Carolina!
Midge Howe is a proud Gamecock Alumni. After graduating from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Sport and Entertainment Management, she couldn’t stay away from her two loves, beer and New Orleans. When Midge is not working she loves spending time with her rescue dogs and exploring all New Orleans has to offer.
Key Accounts Manager
Shane Stouder is from New Orleans, having grown up in the Kenner/ Metairie area. He has a BA in English from UNO. Shane has extensive experience in wholesaler distribution having worked for our largest distributor, Southern Eagle for the past 11 years. He held multiple positions specializing in both On and Off Premise Sales, Category Management, Craft brand development and Key Account Chain Management. He is married to Mary and father to 3 year old Luke and 1 year old Scarlett.
On Premise Sales & Special Events Manager
Glynn was born and raised in the New Orleans metro area. After studying at the University of New Orleans, he discovered his true calling in a local dive bar – craft beer. Glynn then spent the next 10 years working at the wholesaler level in special events, sales, and brand development. In his free time he enjoys traveling, live music, and the great outdoors.
New Orleans Sales Representative
Josh grew up in Maine and went to college in NYC at Wagner College. He stayed there about 15 years where he met his wife, Erica. Then he realized the weather is much better in New Orleans. After moving here in 2016, he started online courses to earn his MBA. With a background in customer service and sales, his true passion has always been beer. When he’s not drinking beer at a local share or talking about beer, you may see him perform in local improv troupes, quoting Ninja Turtles (the original 1990 version), or cuddling his fur baby, Riesling. He apologizes for being a New England fan.
Baton Rouge Sales Representative
Adriana grew up in Shreveport, but her family hails from the New Orleans area and the coast of Honduras. She received her BA in creative writing from LSU and has been in Baton Rouge ever since. She has been in the beer industry since 2015, working in taprooms and packaging until taking on sales. When she’s not talking beer, she enjoys cooking, reading, researching, writing poetry, and singing.
Sales Representative - MS, AL, TN
Currently residing in Jackson, MS with three great kids Parker, Rosie, and Jackson, Stacy got his start working in the non-profit sector and the state of MS focusing on board development, fundraising, and community engagement. He's always enjoyed talking about craft beer, dating back to his bartending days when he got the opportunity to meet other craft beer enthusiasts like himself. When he's not working "the best beer job in the world" at Urban South, he can be found searching for the best tacos in Mississippi or playing/listening to music.
Florida Sales Manager
Phil Merz is originally from Kansas, but now calls Florida home. He has a degree in music education, however, it was his time bartending in college that guided him into the beer business. Phil has 20+ years of beer industry experience at the retailer, wholesaler and supplier levels. His claim to fame is that he’s blocked for Joe Montana, sang with Kenny Rogers, and performed on-stage at Carnegie Hall. He is married to Marla and father to Harper and Hayden.
Director of Packaging Operations
Rob was born in Denver, Colorado. He studied biochemistry at the University of Montana but left to pursue a career in music as a drummer in Austin, TX. He honed his skills and passion for craft brewing at Austin Beerworks as a packager, cellarman, and brewer. He moved to Louisiana to take a brewer position at Abita Brewing until he discovered Urban South. Outside of the brewery he enjoys being a father, traveling, cooking, and wood working.
Phil Guffa was born in Elmhurst, IL and grew up in the Chicago area. He is a Retired Air Force Veteran, and spent most of his years of service in Europe and overseas. His wife, Kris, is from Louisiana. They have 3 kids, 1 grandchild, and many pets (2 dogs, 3 cats & a snake). After traveling the world, they always knew they wanted to live in New Orleans, and 3 years ago they finally made that move. In the Air Force, Phil worked in AMMO (Munitions Handler) and later as a Recruiter. His experience has allowed him to do lots of different jobs, from equipment operator to financial advisor. As a longtime craft beer fan, he's excited for this chance to work in the industry.
Assistant Packaging Manager
Shane Gibson is from all over TX but calls Austin home. Hook ‘em! He met and married his West TX, barrel-racer wife, Kim, of 17 years there, but, shortly afterwards, moved to St. Louis to attend seminary where he received his Masters of Divinity. Shane graduated in ’07 and moved to New Orleans to be the disaster relief coordinator for a Presbyterian church in Uptown. A year later he was ordained and became the assistant/associate pastor until 2015 when he left and started another Presbyterian church in Mid-City, St. Peter's Presbyterian, where he is currently still the pastor. Shane and Kim have 4 children, Adison, Deacon, George and Jude.
Nel is from New Orleans East. He's a recent graduate of John F. Kennedy High School. He is the owner of his own designer clothes store, Prominent. In addition to designing clothes, a fun fact about Nel is that he loves to shop!
Patrick is originally from the SF Bay Area. He lived in Santa Cruz, CA for thirteen years where hestudied art at Cabrillo College in Aptos. After college, Patrick spent many years in the building trades before moving to NOLA in 2013. He spent his first 8 years in New Orleans as a bench jeweler at Adorn & Conquer before packaging for NOLA Brewing. He likes to spend his free time hanging with his pup Petey, going to see music, camping, and riding bikes.
Mark is a John F. Kennedy High proud graduate and a Saints lover. He has an 18 year old son and lives in the Marigny.
Amber Gunn was born and raised on the Westbank of New Orleans. She attended LSU in Baton Rouge and earned a BA degree in Dental Hygiene from the LSU school of Dentistry in New Orleans. After working for 13 years as a Hygienist she and her husband, Brad, started New Orleans Brews Cruise, a local brewery tour, and ran tours around the city and on the North Shore for a year and a half before selling to pursue other interests in the craft beer industry. They love to spend time with their two cute pups, Abita and Nola and to travel in search of all the great beer in the world!
Jen Bordenave was born in New Orleans and grew up on the Northshore. She attended UNO and graduated with her Bachelors degree in HRT. Working in the event industry for years eventually led her to Live Nation at House of Blues New Orleans on the logistics team in the Special Events Department. This is where she met her partner Justin and soon after they adopted an adorable rescue French Bulldog named Snax! She loves spending her free time exploring the city with Justin and snuggling with Snax.
From Funroe, Louisiana, Jake graduated from LSU with an English degree before finding a home in the local music and gastropub scenes in Baton Rouge. Moving to New Orleans in 2019, you can find Jake tending his backyard garden, playing guitar at a show with his band Wumbo, or watching a Chelsea game at home with his cat, Drogba.
Trevor is originally from the Acadiana area. He joined the Marine Corps out of high school and served for just over 4 years. After getting out of the military, he pursued a degree in History which eventually landed him in Baton Rouge at LSU. It is at that time that the head chef at the Velvet Cactus in Baton Rouge began to mentor him in the kitchen. After graduating LSU (Geaux Tigers!), he was given the position of assistant Kitchen Manager at the Lakeview location. After about two years in New Orleans, the head chef there moved on and Trevor was promoted to the position. While his culinary interests are varied among cultures, he tries to make all his food approachable, without comprising on quality and flavor. He homebrews with a few friends as a hobby and is very passionate about craft beer. Trevor is getting married in March to his best friend Savanna and they have a 4 year-old daughter named Eloise.
Matt was born and raised on Bayou Teche in south central Louisiana. He spent several years between Lafayette and Baton Rouge before moving to New Orleans in 2011. Matt loves traveling and visiting local breweries along the way. He also enjoys all sorts of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, kayaking and fishing. He's a big fan of music and spends lots of time listening to all kinds, attending concerts and festivals. Matt has been a Saints fan since childhood and celebrated the Superbowl victory in the French Quarter.
Mike was born and raised on the Westbank. Before working at Urban Smash, Mike and Trevor Sonnier worked together previously at another job. He is a die-hard Pels and Saints fan. Some of his hobbies include family time, poker, and cooking. Mike says the best thing he can cook is Italian food. He is Vietnamese and can speak the language fluently.
A native of South Texas and New Orleans, Don brought nearly 20 years of beer distribution and brewery sales experience. As an avid runner, he hoped to start up the Urban South Brewery's Social Running Club. Besides running, selling, and consuming craft beer, Don enjoyed spending time cooking and watching the Saints kick butt!
Director of Houston Operations
Anna was born in San Diego, CA and lived in Arizona, New Mexico, Massachusetts and Ireland before finally settling in Florida where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science from UCF. After discovering her love of craft beer in college, Anna started working for a craft-focused bar franchise and moved to New Orleans in 2015. In 2018, Anna joined the sales and marketing team at Urban South's New Orleans brewery and in 2022 moved to Texas to take over as General Manager of the Houston brewery.
Tyler was born in Metairie, LA but spent most of his childhood in Mississippi. Tyler comes to Urban South HTX with 10 years of collective brewery experience from Great River Brewing, Southern Prohibition, All Relation and Other Half Brewing DC. His true brewing passion is to produce beers that excite the masses, whether it be a huge pastry stout, a hazy absolutely overloaded with hops, or a fruit smoothie flowing over with punchy flavors. His unique and innovative beer offerings are what make Urban South HTX the creative mecha that it is today.
Ryan grew up in a suburb north of Houston. He started homebrewing with his band during practice. He started his professional brewing experience volunteering at B52 brewing then moved to Iowa to learn how to perfect German Lagers at Backpocket Brewing. Ryan then moved back to Texas for his love of tacos and scorching heat. He became a shift brewer at Eureka Heights and learned how to brew amazing cream ales before becoming Lead Brewer at Urban South HTX. Ryan spends his time annoying his cat, vinyl collecting and rage-quitting difficult games on Xbox.
Tony is a native Houstonian and cycling enthusiast. He left a career in welding to pursue other ventures before finding his passion in the beer industry. He wears many hats at the brewery from bartending to packaging and cellar, and he even runs all of HTX's bike groups. When he's not working or cycling, Tony can usually be found eating tacos and hanging out with his favorite pups.
Jorge was born and raised in Houston, TX. He studied Architecture at both UTSA and San Antonio College. At the age of 21, he started working in the beer industry at a local retail shop. After being introduced to the wonderful world of craft beer, he moved on to work at his dream job for Urban South as a sales coordinator. Jorge enjoys sharing a pint with good people and exploring the wonders of craft beer around the world. An avid photographer, he likes to capture unique views of architecture, Astros, city views, and craft beer. He's a huge baseball fan and as a Houstonian, his favorite team is the Astros. He has been a fan since he was a young kid and has stayed a loyal fan from all the ups and downs... If you don't catch him at an Astros game or enjoying a pint around town, you can always catch him enjoying the diverse culture and activities that Houston has to offer
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