MATHIS, Texas — For more than a century, a cotton gin has stood in downtown Mathis. But for the past several decades that building has been bare and deserted until two brothers, Jake and Nick Resio and their friend Jay Poole purchased the building.
In 2020, the group of businessmen discussed turning the property at East Rockport Street into a brewpub with the help from the Mathis Economic Development Corporation. They thought they'd hit the ground running on the redevelopment, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the brew dreams were halted.
As more than a year passed, the crew began the journey again to build Mathis' first ever brewery company.
"So our goal with the project is we love craft beer, we love getting together with family and friends," Jake said. "But doing the project here in this building is really about trying to bring economic growth to the town."
The inspiration behind naming the brewery 'Labora' comes from the Latin origin word, 'labor,' an homage to the hard workers that used to operate the cotton gin at least 103 years ago.
The vision for the building is to have patio seating in the front, walk up windows for orders and sliding barn doors leading into another space for entertainment.
"It's a large platform back there where the cotton was actually pressed into cotton bills," Jake said. "We want to turn that into a big stage. We want to have bands here a big seating area, a big area for dancing."
Jake said since the group purchased the building, many people have passed by to tell them how special rebuilding the community is to them.
They've even added some personal creativity to the building as one of the brothers, Nick, painted two murals which can be seen at the front entrance. The detailed illustrations showcase monks and their connection to drinking beer as part of their diet during the Middle Ages.
"One older guy used to come up and tell us stories about how he and his grandfather used to ride over here on their horse and buggie to drop off cotton," Jake said, "After the business closed decades ago, people used to even come here after school and play in this area, so it's been in the community for such a long time. We're just happy to finally be able to bring that happiness back to Mathis and it's people."
They're hoping this new business can not only put a smile on people's faces, but to also bring more jobs to those who need it.
"Well we want to grow enough that we can employ a good amount of people here. That would help the community a lot and just creating that circle of commerce and getting people from other cities," Nick said.
Just like any other business, there has been some challenges with the redevelopment, but the Labora Brewing crew said there's been a greater reward in bringing life back to a community that used to be booming.
"We've had setbacks here and there doing this project, but even then just people stopping by and telling us what a good job we're doing. Not just on the building but the town has really pushed us to keep going on it," Nick said.
Although the building's construction is expected to be done at the end of the year, there's still work to be done.
The group is launching a kick starter campaign to raise money to finish the final touches. They're hoping to use the money for buying brewing equipment and help them get to the finish line.
For more information on the campaign, check out the Labora Brewing Company website.