As we watch 2017 give way to 2018, it’s a good time to look back on some of the good things that happened in Alabama this year. Alabama NewsCenter has tallied the results in each grouping of stories to see which ones you responded to the most, and we’re sharing your five favorites along with a story (or stories) we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss.
It’s hard not to marvel at the incredible artisans, cooks and entrepreneurs in Alabama creating some wonderful products. Alabama Makers has become one of our most popular features and as wonderful as what they create can be, their stories are both inspiring and informative. These are the people who help create the great fabric of community and business in our state.
Here are the five Alabama Makers stories that piqued your interest the most in 2017:
In the small Bibb County town of Brent, there is a family that has been making pottery since the 1830s. That’s when Steve Miller’s great-great-great-grandfather began crafting pottery on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. From Perry County and now in Bibb County, the Miller family has kept up the tradition. Steve Miller is now the one crafting new creations for Miller’s Pottery and keeping the family tradition alive.
In Florence, another Alabama Maker shares a name with a popular musical artist and is also keeping the family craft alive. George Jones Jr. is the artist and brooms are his medium at George’s Broom Closet. His handmade brooms are pieces of art you can use for one of the most menial of tasks. He still makes them the way his great-grandfather did when the Great Depression forced him to find a way to support his family.
In Alabaster, Hurricane Katrina refugee from New Orleans Dwayne Thompson kept hearing friends and family tell him he should bottle and sell his homemade barbecue sauce. He finally listened and Big Daddy Sauces was born. His sauce is meant for more than just the grill, but that’s not all that makes it different from other barbecue sauces.
For many coffee lovers, that first cup in the morning can seem like a religious experience. But Ryan Bergeron in Selma truly felt led by God to get into the coffee business. Though he resisted at first, the tug kept leading him down the path until Revival Coffee was born. Bergeron’s story is as invigorating as his fresh-roasted brew.
A visit to Birmingham’s Railroad Park can already be a sweet escape, but Birmingham Candy Company’s pop-up store made it even sweeter for many this year. The local candymaker is producing goods for sale on its own website and at other locations around town. For the holidays, it operated a temporary store in The Summit. Wayne and Cassie Bolden have attached Birmingham’s name to something sweet.
Keith Sherrill spent years serving his country as a U.S. Army Ranger and he is still fighting terrorism, only now he is brewing beer to do it. That’s just one aspect of Haint Blue Brewing Company’s story that captivated us this year. After spending much of the year fighting to brew his beer in a former ice house in Mobile, Sherrill finally won that fight and is setting up his new brewery.