A Central Florida brewery closes its doors

Lagniappe signLagniappe Brewery, a small Lake County brewery that produced the Effinheimer brand of beers, has closed.

A reader of Beer in Florida tipped me off to this in a comment on another post, and I called a friend who lived close to the Minneola brewery to confirm it and shoot a couple of photos.

“We are CLOSED for good!” a hand-lettered sign on the tasting room door reads.

Lagniappe closedThe brewery was founded in 2009 by Brad Banker, who had put his electrical engineering career on hiatus and took his homebrewing hobby pro to open Lagniappe, a word from his roots in Louisiana that translates from French/Cajun to “a little something extra.”

When I visited Lagniappe last year for its chapter in my “Florida Breweries” book, taproom manager and assistant brewer Ricardo Altmon told me they had sold their original 8.5-barrel brewing system and downsized to a 55-gallon system because the larger system was “overkill” for their needs.

At the time, Banker had returned to electrical engineering and had left the day-to-day operation in the hands of his staff.

I first wrote about Lagniappe during a temporary blogging gig I had with Visit Kissimmee in August 2010. At the time, it was doing pretty good business and distributing their beer to several local pubs and restaurants, including some on Walt Disney World property.

This is the third brewery to shutter in the past few months, but the first that was locally owned. The others were the Shipyard Brew Pub in Winter Park and the Gordon Biersch location in downtown Miami.

The good news is that though we’ve lost those three, we’ve gained far more in recent months. Florida should soon hit the 100-brewery mark.

As for Lagniappe, I used to live in nearby Clermont, and I visited the taproom every so often. It was a friendly, welcoming place that served some good beer. I’m sorry to see it go.

I’ve sent an email to Banker for comment, and if he replies, I will update this post with his comments.

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4 Responses to A Central Florida brewery closes its doors

  1. Tim Justynski says:

    From my understanding, Sea Dog and Shipyard were own by the same company. When Shipyard closed down, everything was moved down to Sea Dog. My business partner and I recently visited Sea Dog, and were very disappointed. They call themselves a “Brew Pub” and have the Fermenters (etc) on display, however when we asked if the beer was brewed on location, the server told us no, and that it was brewed in Maine. How do you call yourself a Brew Pub, and not brew the beer? (Not even in the same state.) So I wouldn’t consider them a Florida Brewery. On a good note, the beer was excellent.

  2. FloriBrew says:

    Didn’t Shipyard essentially just move across town & rebrand as Sea Dog? That was the story he staff gave me when I inquired about the truck out front and the huge Shipyard pint glass in the lobby area.

    • Gerard Walen says:

      From what I understand, the Sea Dog pub was already planned before the Shipyard closing was. I’ve heard various reasons, through the grapevine, that people were told about the reason for the closing. I visited there shortly before the closing was announced and it did not seem to me like a business that would be open much longer. That said, I’ve never heard an official reason given, other than this in a post from Orlando food blogger Scott Joseph, dated Aug. 14, 2013:

      Tami Kennedy, a spokeswoman for the company, said the location had difficulties that couldn’t be overcome, mainly parking. The space, which was the original Dexter’s and more recently Stollo’s Cucina Due, has a tiny parking lot on busy Fairbanks Avenue. Customers were informed that they could park at the Keke’s restaurant, which is not open for dinner, down the block and across the street, but that apparently wasn’t enough.

  3. Beerlando says:

    I visited them this past Summer on a Saturday, and the beer tasted a little off. This was the second time I’d been there, and the first time was great. There was no one in there the second time. The place was in kind of a weird location (side of a small strip mall) in kind of a slow area. Also, I only saw their brews once in a local craft beer bar (not much distribution.) I can’t help but think all this contributed to its downfall. All in all, sorry to see a local brewery close.

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