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. That mixture of cultural legacy and bold innovation is why New Orleans was the perfect place to take root. We opened our New Orleans production facility and taproom in 2016. In February 2020, we opened an R&D brewery and taproom in Houston where we'll focus on pushing the boundaries of American beer.
Our company's mission is to inspire community and fellowship through the gospel of good beer. 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.
Alex is a New Orleans native, after attending LSU he moved to San Diego, CA to pursue a career in craft beer. He brewed at Manzanita Brewing and Mission Brewery before moving back to New Orleans in 2014. He was the Director of Funk at NOLA Brewing and earned a silver medal in the Brett beer category at the World Beer Cup in 2016. He completed the SDSU Professional Certificate in the Business of Craft Beer and the Siebel Institute Concise Course in Brewing Technology. Alex enjoys running and has a love hate relationship with the Saints!
Eric Epps hails from Rochester, NY. A sucker for pain, he is a die hard Buffalo sports fan. He attended college at Kent State and finished his college education at a film school in Orlando, FL, where he met his wife, Max. Eric fell in love with the craft beer industry while working at Pyramid Brewery before being hired at Carolina Brewery as a cellarman and eventually becoming the lead brewer of their Chapel Hill location. Most recently Eric worked for Abita Brewing Company before joining the USB team. Eric is a proud father to Henry.
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.
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 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.
Digital Marketing Coordinator
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
Natalie is originally from a small town in New Jersey and recently graduated from Tulane University with a degree in Communications and Film Studies and a minor in Economics. Outside of work, Natalie loves art, film, music, cooking, and spending time with her favorite people.
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 the taproom release beer labels and marketing material.
A native of South Texas and now living in New Orleans, Don brings nearly 20 years of beer distribution and brewery sales experience. As an avid runner, he hopes to start up the Urban South Brewery's Social Running Club. Besides running, selling, and consuming craft beer, Don enjoys spending time cooking and watching the Saints kick butt!
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 Manager
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.
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.
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.
Assistant Packaging Manager
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.
Packaging Shift Leader
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.
Packaging Team Mentor
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.
Lizzy is originally from Philly. While there, she studied Health for the Science Professions. Lizzy moved to New Orleans in 2018. Fun fact: She loves to row and was even on the Executive Board for New Orleans Rowing Club. In her free time, she loves painting, cheering on the Eagles, and enjoying all New Orleans has to offer!
Max is originally from Evanston, Illinois. He has a Bachelors of Science degree in Environmental Science and a Bachelors of Arts in Spanish from Loyola University in New Orleans. His passion is sculpture, primarily working in glass and steel.
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.
Taproom Operations Manager
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!
Taproom Events Manager
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.
Bartender-Taproom Marketing Associate
Mitch grew up in the Indianapolis suburbs and studied film at Columbia College Chicago. Later he returned home and worked as a videographer, a bookseller, and a customer service rep. His partner Trish brought him down to New Orleans and he has been bartending ever since. In his free time, he enjoys drawing, reading, and chillin' with his cat Tippy. Since April of 2020, he attends a weekly video session with three of his high school friends in which they watch, review, and discuss a selection of movies centered around the horror genre.
Bartender and Packaging Team Member
Britt grew up between Connecticut, Texas, and Atlanta. She studied at Ole Miss, and then lived in Taos, NM. Britt has been in New Orleans for three years and really enjoys live music/festivals, weekend hiking trips, and her dog Abbie.
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.
Anna was born in San Diego, California 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 bar franchise teaching beer education and training classes. In 2015, she moved to New Orleans and immediately knew she wanted to make NOLA home. When not promoting new beers, you can find Anna at home snuggling her pup.
Research & Development Brewer
Justin arrives at Urban South with seven years of experience from Ghost River Brewing in Memphis, Tennessee, & B52 Brewing. He is the megamind that comes up with all the crazy fun beer flavors. A super rad, and fearless brewer that loves to bring all the craziness, uniqueness, and fun to Urban South HTX.
Production Team Member
JJ is brand new to the brewing industry, but has been loving every second of it! He’s originally from Cincinnati, OH but has been living in Houston for the past three years. He is an artist and former high school art teacher who loves traveling and has been to all 50 states. JJ is a talented artist, and a pretty smooth motorcycle rider that can rock any hairstyle!
Production Team Member
Angela started with a nerdy fascination for all things bacteria which propelled her to a degree in Microbiology and Biochemistry from Texas State. After dabbling in the wine, research, and then medicine, she was ultimately captivated by the meld of creativity and perpetual growth that exists in the craft beer industry. Her interest became an obsession when she started at B52 Brewing. She couldn’t imagine working anywhere else to make the most insane and tastiest beer than here at Urban South Brewing-HTX. Cheers to the next beer!
Canning Line Manager
Nico is HTX born and raised. He has been a part of Houston’s Amazingly Awesome Craft Beer Scene for 10+ years. In his free time, he likes to cook different meats. He is currently in training to become a first responder!
“Act a fool with it.” Lets get it!
Sales and Distribution Manager
Nate was born and raised in Connecticut and also has family in Florida, so the bulk of his life has been a balance of the forest and the beach. He has always been involved in sports & outdoor activities, this led him to becoming a Certified Personal Trainer and Health & Wellness Manger, while acquiring his Bachelor’s Degree in Sports & Leisure Management. More recently his passion for the outdoors led him to a Director of Operations role for a high ropes course. Nate loves networking, building relationships, and craft beer, which is what attracted him to Urban South. In his free-time, he loves to travel, be outdoors, and spend time with his 1 year old Blue Heeler puppy, Kovy.
Lee was born in San Antonio but grew up in Houston Texas (Alief). He is happily married and has two amazing boys. He is 49 years young, and has been a bartender for about 5 years. He is still learning a lot about craft beer, and loves every minute of it. He is very positive, outgoing, and loves making friends with awesome people. His only hobby is music (literally keeps him sane). He can play some instruments but mainly drums. He shares his music through his very own Spotify page (feel free to look it up). Although he's always had a passion for music, he mainly want to teach his boys to be incredible humans and bring nothing but love to the world! Fun fact: He claims to be fluent in Spanish, but that's just a hoax.
Chelsy (she/her) comes from a loud and proud Filipino family. Though initially from the East Coast, Houston has always been home. Her backgrounds in Public Health, Interpersonal Communication, and Nonprofit Management from UH have propelled her to pursue a Master’s in Macro Social Work. Her love for beer began a few years ago when her roommates started homebrewing and sharing tasty craft brews. She is an eARTh lover and dancer who’s also heavy on civic engagement and all things music. When not doing all this stuff
Shileen was born in Germany, but left at age 10 and grew up in Monterey, California. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a bachelors in Linguistics and Scandinavian studies in 2016, but before that considered attending UC Davis simply because they offered beer brewing classes. She claims to be a terrible home brewer. She speaks broken Spanish and Norwegian, and plans to one day put roots down in Norway. She is a beauty school dropout, aspiring carpenter, former professional caterer, and a forever animal lover and traveler.
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