Liquor store pays homage to old bar, offers select downtown spirits – Mississippi’s Best Community Newspaper
NATCHEZ – Lindsey Callon remembers going to the Hallelujah Bar in the Callon Petroleum Company office building with her grandfather. Now, Callon co-owns a new downtown liquor store that pays homage to this gathering place.
Hallelujah Wine and Spirits, located in Block 100 of Main Street, is scheduled to open on October 7. Callon opens the business with his partners Jim Smith, Bryant Pearson and Mark Brockway.
“When he was jumping, that was the place to be,” Callon said of the old bar. “It was a cool place in Natchez and it seemed like a good way to play the name because people remember it.”
Callon and Smith said they had independently considered the idea of opening a liquor store on Main Street for some time. However, it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic started that Callon started to really think about it.
Smith operated a retail store on Main Street and for years people had been asking for the nearest liquor store. He approached the owners of the building around the same time as Callon with the idea of opening a liquor store.
“We think this is the best location in town,” Smith said. “When the hotels are full and the boats arrive, I think this will be a great location.”
The store has more than a prime location, it will also offer a wide selection of wines and spirits. In Mississippi, liquor stores are supplied by the Liquor Control Warehouse in Jackson.
Brockway began ordering products for the store months in advance. The store slowly received shipments and filled the store shelves. While big names like Johnnie Walker, Jack Daniels and Barefoot can be found on the shelves, there are a wide variety of different brands.
“The first day we placed the order, we had fun,” said Brockway. “We started ordering and took the basics out first. When I placed the order I wanted to focus on different drinks.
Brockway worked for 20 years as a bartender and manager, previously at Dunleith and now at Pearl Street Pasta, which has helped him gain expertise on wine and cocktail types.
“The idea was to have the best store in town and to have a lot of variety,” Brockway said. “We took this to heart. If we can get our hands on it, we’ll get it. We are limited on some things, but we can flip a lot of stones and try to find things. ”
Pearson worked for 12 years with Brockway, primarily as a waiter for high end restaurants. He brings expertise gained from working directly with clients and as a bartender.
“There are a lot of wines on the shelves that are good to drink on your own, and others that you can pair with food,” Pearson said. “This is where I come in. I have great expertise in food and wine pairings. For a small town, there are a lot of good bartenders here. “There are ingredients here that I think bartenders will think ‘oh wow. “”