Written by Jamie Dickson
Homebrewing is a hobby that requires patience. It takes time for the fermentation process to take place, for the magical chemical happenings to transform a soggy mess of yeast, hops, grain and water into a lovely porter or snappy IPA.
Mack Rusling was tired of waiting, though.
Rusling has been part of the homebrewing scene for over four decades, tinkering both by himself and as part of various homebrewing clubs. He and his companions were growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of local suppliers for their hobby.
Members of his homebrew club would order equipment and ingredients online, but Mack wanted someplace he could walk in empty-handed and leave with what he needed.
To fill this need, he started Brewhaha, in LeFleur’s Gallery, seven years ago, with the express purpose of serving the homebrewing community in and around Jackson.
His current inventory meets any home brewer where they are: ready-to-go, complete kits for the beginner and individual ingredients—varieties of grains, barley, malt extracts, hops, and yeast strains—for those with more experience.
“And buckets,” Rusling chuckles. “Making beer requires lots of buckets.”
Rusling says he keeps the inventory in the store “simple,” but will gladly order anything a customer wants that isn’t in stock. There is a small selection of wine-making equipment and ingredients for would-be vintners, and at one time Rusling stocked the necessities for cheese-making.
Slow sales led him to abandon the cheese-making inventory, but he’ll gladly special order some if asked. “I’m pretty easy,” he says. “If you want it, and we don’t have it, I’ll get it.”
When asked about the size of the homebrewing community in Jackson, Rusling pauses for a second.
“It’s bigger than you’d think,” he says. “I can’t put an actual number on it, but there are lots of quiet hobbyists out there.”
Rusling sees both regulars in his store, folks whom he’s been in contact with for decades, and first-timers who are curious about the craft. He muses that “homebrewing gives folks a chance to visit or vacate, whichever they need.” His store makes it that much easier.