Florida brewery growth continues unchecked: Updated

Beer in Florida logoFlorida persists on its path to becoming one of the most brewery-rich states in the country, according to the latest update of this site’s Florida Brewery Map and List.

I try to keep the list and map updated in a timely manner, but the last time I wrote one of these posts was in August,  when the count was 152 operating breweries in the state, with 33 on their way to opening.

That number has now reached 175 operating breweries as of this date and, again, 33 slated to start brewing in the near future.

(UPDATED on 7/21/16: 184 operating breweries; 33 on the way)

(UPDATED on 6/5/16: 180 operating breweries, 37 on the horizon)

Add those numbers together, and that’s more than 200 – which could be how many breweries are open here by the end of this year.

Will some close? Probably. There’s been a small wave of consolidations and closings over the past few months, but the rate of new brewery openings still far outpaces any losses.

The 33 breweries-yet-to-open cited above includes only those with physical addresses. There are at least that many more – that I know of – still looking for real estate and/or moving through the licensing bureaucracy at local, state and federal levels.

Will we hit the 200-brewery mark by the end of 2016? It’s entirely possible.

Here are the criteria I use for a brewery to be included on the map:

  • The brewery or brewpub must produce beer on its premises. This means you will not find companies such as The Abbey Brewing Co. in Miami Beach, which contracts its beer at other breweries.
  • Size doesn’t matter. Whether a brewery makes tens of thousands of barrels per year, or one a week, as long as it can sell and serve to customers, whether on premise or strictly through distribution, it counts.
  • It includes two brewpubs – Karibrew in Fernandina Beach and Marco Island Brewery – whose brewing processes are completed on site but started elsewhere.
  • In the case of a brewery like Barley Mow Brewing Company in Largo, there is the original brewery/taproom and another location that is production only, without a tasting room. In such cases, both locations are listed.
  • It does not include BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse locations, which does not brew at any of its restaurants. The chain is one of the brewing partners at BrewHub, the operation in Lakeland that offers brewing and marketing services for other breweries, and contracts at some out-of-state breweries as well. (BrewHub is on the map.)
  • Cideries and meaderies are not included, though I might create a separate section for them in the future.

To be included, a brewery or brewpub must have a physical address – it would be hard to map it otherwise – and if not yet open, it needs to have made solid steps such as ordering or installing equipment, or starting the regulatory process. A website or Facebook page is ideal, though not required. Most have them and are linked.

Other maps and lists out there are based on different criteria.  The Florida Brewers Guild lists those breweries and brewpubs that are members. Others list breweries that haven’t made any steps toward opening other than filing as a business entity, sometimes years ago, with no progress since. There are some fine sites out there with maps of limited local areas, and I appreciate their creators allowing me to use them to research.

This map is a labor of love for me because I am passionate about my home state and its craft beer community. Friends and fans of this site offer invaluable help in tracking down some of these, and I am extremely grateful. I feel it is the most accurate listing of its type out there, but it has become a LOT of work.

I do get a little financial help via sponsorships, but if you feel it is of value to you, I would not object if you were to drop a little change to help using the “Donate” button on the right column of this page.

Speaking of sponsors, huge thanks go out our newest ones: Florida Fun Shuttle, Brewlando Tours, Ye Olde Brothers Brewery and Marker 48 Brewing.

Continued thanks to sponsors Tampa Bay Brews Cruise, Tampa Bay Brewing Company, JDub’s Brewing Company, Coppertail Brewing Company, Dahlia’s Pour House, and St. Pete Brewing Company.

Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor can drop a line to gerard@beerinflorida.com, and I’ll send the details.

As always, I appreciate any feedback if I missed a brewery, have one listed as open that has closed – or vice versa – or made any other errors. Send me an email or leave a comment below.




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Carnival will brew aboard cruise ship based in Florida

CarnivalVista (Med Res)Miami-based Carnival Cruise Line announced this morning that it will join with Concrete Beach Brewery, a subsidiary of Boston Beer Company’s Alchemy & Science Division, to launch the first brewery on board a cruise ship.

Beer geeks will find some details lacking in the announcement – such as brewhouse size, whether the entire process will take place on board, or how the brewers will deal with the inevitable rough seas while brewing – but it’s still pretty exciting.

One of the renderings provided by Carnival shows a respectable line of fermenting tanks behind the glass.

Here’s the release:

Carnival Cruise Line Partners with CONCRETE BEACH BREWERY to Create a Craft Brewery on the New Carnival Vista

Carnival Vista’s RedFrog Pub & Brewery is the first craft brewery on a cruise ship in North America

MIAMI (March 28, 2016) — When guests on Carnival Cruise Line’s newest, largest and most innovative ship, Carnival Vista, raise a pint in the RedFrog Pub & Brewery, they will have a choice of three distinctly flavored hand-crafted beers brewed right on board in the first brewery at sea in North America.

Carnival Vista’s RedFrog Pub & Brewery is the result of a unique collaboration between Carnival and Miami-based Concrete Beach Brewery.

Concrete Beach is an Alchemy & Science brand, an independently operating subsidiary of The Boston Beer Company. Alchemy & Science is home to other such popular breweries around the country, including Angel City Brewery in Los Angeles and Coney Island Brewing Co. in Brooklyn, N.Y.  Each of these breweries produces beers specifically inspired by and brewed to be representative of their respective locales. The resulting examples include such beers as Tropic of Passion, a passion fruit wheat beer from Miami, Angel City IPA from L.A., and Coney Island Mermaid Pilsner from New York.

Similarly, Concrete Beach is working closely with Carnival to create original recipes and source and select the finest ingredients to produce three distinctive craft beers that will be brewed and served on board Carnival Vista.  Those beers will include ThirstyFrog Port Hoppin’ IPA, ThirstyFrog Caribbean Wheat and FriskyFrog Java Stout.

“We’ve been working for months with these talented partners who have helped us create three exciting and unique craft beers for Carnival Vista and we anticipate our guests are going to absolutely love them,” said Eddie Allen, Carnival’s vice president of beverage operations.

Allen noted that the brews were specifically designed with Carnival Vista guests in mind.  ThirstyFrog Port Hoppin’ IPA offers aromatic, floral and hoppy notes with passion fruit and citrus overtones while ThirstyFrog Caribbean Wheat is an unfiltered lager with aromas of bananas and spices.  The third beer, FriskyFrog Java Stout, is a take on a traditional stout, rich and creamy with hints of coffee.

“It was an honor to be a part of this one-of-a-kind project, and we feel like we created a great variety that is sure to please guests,” said Jon Carpenter, Concrete Beach Brewery Brewmaster. “It’s common for vacationers to want to test out the local beer and Carnival Vista has taken the concept of local, and applied it to the decks of their ship.”

The beers to be featured on Carnival Vista further build upon a greatly expanded selection of craft beers across the entire Carnival fleet. U.S.-based Carnival ships already serve Concrete Beach Brewery’s Rica Wheat IPA, Angel City Brewery’s Pilsner, Coney Island’s Hard Root Beer and 1609 Amber. On a regional basis, Carnival ships sailing from Miami feature Concrete Beach Stiltsville Miami-style Pilsner, while Long Beach, California–based ships offer Angel City Brewery IPA and cruises departing from New York City are stocked with Coney Island Mermaid Pilsner.

The line also offers beers brewed either locally in homeports or within the homeport state on ships sailing from New Orleans, Galveston, Baltimore and Tampa, as well as ships that sail to Alaska and Hawaii.

CL_VS_RedFrogPub_01_ren - Copy






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Guest post: UF digs deep into Florida hops crop

By Jack Payne
Special to Beer in Florida 

Jack Payne

Jack Payne

The hunt for the next great Florida agriculture success story is unfolding in both Apopka and Wimauma. The storybook ending the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences hopes to write is one in which our state becomes a major hops producer.

That would provide a local supply to match the explosive growth of the craft brewing industry. Along the way, it would create jobs, increase growers’ and brewers’ profits, and give Florida beer devotees a chance to drink local.

Like so many previous success stories, it starts with science. Specifically, this story is set in a new hops yard in Apopka at the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center and the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Wimauma. Both are run by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Our protagonists are environmental horticulturalists Brian Pearson in Apopka and Zhanao Deng in Wimauma, and plant physiologist Shinsuke Agehara in Wimauma.

Brian Pearson inspecting hops. (Photos courtesy of University of Florida).

Brian Pearson inspecting hops. (Photos courtesy of University of Florida).

Pearson started working on hops in his lab as a personal experiment before turning it into a trial of four hops varieties.

Deng’s work as a breeder of sterile lantana is so respected that his varieties are being tested in Africa for its potential to repel malaria-carrying mosquitoes. He’s game to test it as a repellent to Zika-virus-carrying bugs as well if there’s a call for it.

Florida brewers import their hops all the way from Washington State and foreign countries because we can’t grow good hops in Florida – yet. The subtropical climate and local pests and diseases conspire against it.

It’s a heavy lift to overcome those obstacles. If it were easy, it would have been done years ago in tandem with the launch of Florida’s craft brewing industry. As Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

The hops project is an example of how UF/IFAS sometimes swings for the fences. That comes at a cost. You have to have the stomach for striking out. Again, Edison described the innovator’s predicament well when he said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Environmental horticulturist Zhanao Deng.

Environmental horticulturist Zhanao Deng.

Pearson, Deng, and Agehara will be taking a few hundred swings at once, thanks to local brewers’ donations of rhizomes (those are “root bulbs” to those not familiar with their availability from brewing suppliers) and equipment.

A hit, if it comes, won’t happen immediately.

But 20 years ago a thriving Florida blueberry industry didn’t seem all that likely either. Our breeders changed that. Florida growers now produce more than $75 million worth of blueberries annually – more than 95 percent of it in UF/IFAS-created varieties.

The hops experiments are also an example of how our research agenda is crafted with the input of the communities we serve.

Simon Bollin, the Hillsborough County agribusiness development manager, helped identify the opportunity. There are about 20 breweries in Hillsborough County and more than 60 in the greater Tampa area.

The Hillsborough County Agriculture Economic Development Council quickly realized that the value-added production potential for local farmers from hops was promising, but the AEDC needed proof of concept. That is where the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast REC and Mid-Florida REC came in. It has a team of scientists that is essentially the discovery and innovation arm of agriculture throughout the area.

Bollin brought brewers and breeders together, and they decided hops were worth a try. Bollin arranged for the donations of plant material and equipment. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences is lending its support through a $158,000 grant.

We have high hopes for hops, just as we do for peaches, pomegranates, and olives. You just can’t know ahead of time which crop will figure in the next success story. We just know that UF/IFAS scientists are likely authors of it, and right now they’re scribbling away in Hillsborough.

Jack Payne is the University of Florida’s senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources and leader of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. He can be reached at jackpayne@ufl.edu or  follow him on Twitter @JackPayneIFAS.




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Cigar City Brewing reaches sales agreement with Fireman Capital

CigarCity Legend1Brewbound.com broke the news this morning that Cigar City Brewing in Tampa will sell controlling interest to a Boston-based private equity firm.

From the story:

Cigar City, a leading independent brewery based in Tampa, Fla., has agreed to sell controlling interest to Boston-based private equity firm Fireman Capital Partners, which already owns majority stakes in Oskar Blues, Perrin Brewing and the Utah Brewers Cooperative outfit that includes the Wasatch and Squatters brands.

The story also reveals that rumors of a pending sale to beer conglomerate Anheuser-Busch InBev had more substance than previously believed:

According to Redner, Cigar City was in serious discussions with A-B InBev and had even signed a letter of intent with them in late 2015. In doing so, the smaller brewery had also agreed to an “exclusivity” clause that prohibited it from negotiating with other potential buyers, Redner told Brewbound. … But a potential deal fell through after A-B neglected to send a formal purchase agreement before the exclusivity period expired, Redner claims, enabling Cigar City to entertain other offers.

This news breaks two days after the brewery staged what was from all  accounts a well-organized and successful Hunahpu’s Day and beer festival.

Read the entire story here.


As this story developed through the day, other news sites added more context. Here are a few:

Good Beer Hunting: Where’s there’s smoke – Fireman Capital acquires one of Florida’s finest.

Draft: Cigar City Brewing sells to private equity firm

Official news release, via The Full Pint

Tampa Bay Business Journal: Here’s what the sale of Cigar City Brewing will mean in Tampa

Beer Street Journal: Oskar Blues acquires Cigar City Brewing

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