“Find something you’d do for free, then find someone to pay you to do it.” If you’ve never heard that before, it’s about seeking out your passions and doing what you love. One Jackson native has found it, and it all revolves around his love for music. Austin Evans says Cathead Vodka, a company he began three years ago with Richard Patrick, is about a love of Mississippi Blues and the heritage that surrounds it. “We were both in college studying business management at the University of Alabama,” Evans says, “and both worked in the restaurant business.” He says in chasing a dollar, it always worked its way back to live music. “We tried several businesses that revolved around the music scene, but asked ourselves why we weren’t doing what we already knew.” Evans says it all adds up to a lifestyle vocation. “We’re working,” he says, “but we’re not.” 

Evans returned to Jackson three years ago and finalized his business plan in father John Evans’ Lemuria Books Dot Com space before locating his distillery in Gluckstadt and his home and home office in Fondren. Mississippi was an obvious choice, he tells us, since there was no distillery here. “And”, he says, “there are a lot of industry related draws.” Patrick moved here shortly after Evans did and the pair built a company that celebrated and supported the musical heritage they are offhandedly named for. “A cathead was the folk art bluesmen painted to supplement their incomes,” he tells us. “That’s what they called musicians they respected – cats – so it’s our tribute.” Indeed Evans and Patrick put their money where their mouths are in respecting blues cats, donating $1 of each bottle sold to the Oxford, Mississippi based Yoknapatawpha Arts Council. “It’s our way of giving back.”

Cathead’s newest product is Honeysuckle Vodka, a culturally specific product that took some time to get right. “We’ve had the idea the whole time,” he says, “but it took us two years to get the flavor profile down.” Evans explains that you can’t release a product like this without the proper distribution routes. “It’s complicated, but we’ll get it into the eight states we distribute in, as far north as Indiana and east to Virginia.” 

The 31 year-old Fondren Corner resident says his choice to live in Fondren was an easy one. “I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else,” he mentions. And with his busy schedule that has him on-the-go, he’s thankful for the numerous restaurants within walking distance of his apartment. “I just don’t have time to cook.” But, there’s another benefit to his location. “I hired my neighbor as a sales guy and my business partner lives a hundred feet away. Everyone I deal with is in Fondren.” Evans loves the community vibe here and says the open and accepting atmosphere makes this the place to be in Jackson. “There’s a different energy about people who live here and I know people in Fondren are pushing Jackson in the right direction.”

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