Signs point to more Florida craft beer tourism

Crudely done photo illustration by Gerard Walen

Crudely done and unofficial photo illustration by Gerard Walen

Tucked in the midst of a long list of provisions to a transportation bill passed by the Florida Legislature is an add-on that should prove to be a real boon to local craft breweries.

The list attached to CS/CS/HB 7061 — Transportation includes this line:

Requires the FDOT to install directional signs for certain breweries on the rights-of-way of interstate highways and primary and secondary roads, subject to certain requirements and requires a brewery that requests a directional sign to pay certain costs.

That’s right, soon local breweries will be able to erect those blue (or maybe green or brown) signs, currently available to local wineries, on roadways to direct craft beer tourists to their taprooms.

Here’s a more complete explanation from the 2016 Florida statutes:

563.13 Florida brewery directional signs; fees.—Upon the request of a brewery licensed under s. 561.221(2) or (3) which produces a minimum of 2,500 barrels per year on the premises, is open to the public at least 30 hours per week, and is available for tours, the Department of Transportation shall install directional signs for the brewery on the rights-of-way of interstate highways and primary and secondary roads in accordance with Florida’s Highway Guide Sign Program as provided in chapter 14-51, Florida Administrative Code. A brewery licensed in this state which requests placement of a directional sign through the department’s permit process shall pay all associated costs.

The statute remains in the final stages of completion, so there are still a few details to be worked out.

“We’re waiting to hear back about what ‘available for tours’ means,”  said Kent Bailey, Florida Brewers Guild president and founder/owner of Tampa’s Coppertail Brewing Co. “Would one tour a month qualify?  Or do you have to do multiple tours per day?  We’re not sure.”

Another detail that remains to be worked out is the cost for breweries to have the signs installed, said Josh Aubuchon, who as the FBG general counsel is the point man for the guild’s interaction with the Legislature.

“The estimate was about $250 per sign,” he said,  “and the road signs can be placed on the rights-of-way of interstate highways and primary and secondary roads.”

That estimate is in line with the current cost of the signs for a certified Florida Farm Winery, in addition to an “annual permit fee (that) shall not exceed $50.”

“Each of the seven districts of DOT will handle the signs in their local area,” Aubuchon said.  “The timetable for placement will vary based upon the area – I would imagine the Tampa area will be crowded – and the number of signs requested.”

The official applications from the state remain to be created, but Aubuchon said he’ll have some forms  “to get the ball rolling instead of needing to wait for the final forms”

“Once we get those, I imagine there are quite a few breweries that are going to be clamoring to get their applications in.”

Any brewery owners interested in filling out an initial application or seeking more information should contact Aubuchon at Joshua.Aubuchon@hklaw.com.

I’ll share any developments as they become available.

 

Florida Brewery Map & List

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Florida craft beer lands awards in front of the world’s eyes

Beer Bloggers Conference

Florida breweries have had a slew of awards and recognition in just the past few days, and the timing couldn’t have been better because the 2016 Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference was in town.

First the big one. In the recently concluded 2016 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Florida-based breweries took home a whopping 27 medals across 93 style categories. Based on the number of medals won, Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing was No. 3 in the Top 10 Breweries list, with Brew Bus Brewing, also of Tampa, not far behind at sixth.

You can see the complete list here.

Meanwhile, the uber-popular SeriousEats.com website recently concluded its Great American Beer Brawl 2016, in which readers could vote on what they felt was America’s greatest beer city. And guess who came out on top? That’s right, Tampa.

And not by just a few percentage points, but by a LOT. Final results: Tampa, 24.1%, followed by Portland, 9.4%; Denver, 7.9% and San Diego by 7.5%. Of course, the organizers were a bit skeptical that there may have been some manipulation involved. They posted this:

Surprising all of us, but certainly none of the Tampa residents who ​surely did not vote more than once or ​launch some sort of internet campaign to get all their friends to do likewise, it’s Tampa in a landslide!

I deny any knowledge.Cigar City Brewing photo by Gerard Walen

You can see the final results here.

Finally, but probably not finally because I likely forgot something, Southern Living Magazine listed Cigar City Brewing among the “South’s Best Breweries.” I can’t argue with that.

EDIT: As suspected, I had left out another honor for Florida’s craft beer community. Draft Magazine released its annual list of America’s Best Beer Bars, and in the Southern Region, three Florida pubs made the cut: Kickbacks Gastropub/Goozlepipe & Guttyworks in Jacksonville; Mr. Beerys in Sarasota; and Orlando’s Redlight Redlight.

#BBC16

From left, panelists Eric Criss of the Beer Industry of Florida; Joey Redner, founder of Cigar City Brewing, and Mark DeNote of FloridaBeerNews.com. On the far right is yours truly, Gerard Walen, moderator of

From left, panelists Eric Criss of the Beer Industry of Florida; Joey Redner, founder of Cigar City Brewing, and Mark DeNote of FloridaBeerNews.com. On the far right is yours truly, Gerard Walen, moderator of
“The Beer Industry in Tampa and Florida” discussion on the first day of the 2016 Beer Bloggers Conference. (Photo by Carol Dekkers).

Meanwhile, at the Marriott Tampa Waterside in downtown Tampa, about 150 or so beer bloggers, beer writers and beer industry folks were gathered together for the 2016 Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference, myself included.

Did we learn things? Yes! Did we drink lots of great beer? Yes! Did we learn about and explore the booming craft beer industry in the Tampa Bay area and Florida? Yes! Were some Pokemon captured? Yes! Did everyone’s liver survive? That remains to be seen.

The attendees have already started blogging and posting about the experience and the area. Rather than try to recount it all myself, I suggest that you search for the #BBC16 hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and look for links to the stories.

The word about our craft beer community will now be heralded far and wide. Breweries and taprooms should expect a bump in the number of visitors this tourist season.

Big props to all the sponsors, including Visit Tampa Bay, JJ Taylor Distributing Florida, CraftBeer.com, Visit St. Petersburg-Clearwater and many more. A special shoutout to the Marriott Tampa Waterside, which went above and beyond as hosts – and they really, really “get” craft beer.

The next Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference will take place Aug. 3-6 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

One of my big takeaways from the conference, however, is that people like to look at pictures. So the rest of this post will be only photos from the event.

Cheers!

I found this session to be a highlight, even though I'm not much of a sour beer fan. (Photo by Gerard Walen)

I found this session to be a highlight, even though I’m not much of a sour beer fan. (Photo by Gerard Walen)

 

Stan Hieronymus, a living legend in the beer world, gave the keynote speech on Saturday. (Photo by Gerard Walen)

Stan Hieronymus, a living legend in the beer world, gave the keynote speech on Saturday. (Photo by Gerard Walen)

 

Travis Kruger of Crooked Thumb Brewery in Safety Harbor pours at the Live Beer Blogging session on Saturday afternoon at the JJ Taylor warehouse. (Photo by Gerard Walen)

Travis Kruger of Crooked Thumb Brewery in Safety Harbor pours at the Live Beer Blogging session on Saturday afternoon at the JJ Taylor warehouse. (Photo by Gerard Walen)

 

CCB cheat sheet

Cigar City Brewing dug deep into the cellar for what they shared at Live Beer Blogging. (Photo by Gerard Walen)

 

Selfie with Troika Brodsky, executive director of the St. Louis Brewers Guild, and Elle Brodsky of the nonprofit Yoga Buzz. These crazy kids met at a Beer Bloggers Conference and tied the knot a few years later. (Photo by Gerard Walen)

Selfie with Troika Brodsky, executive director of the St. Louis Brewers Guild, and Elle Brodsky of the nonprofit Yoga Buzz. These crazy kids met at a Beer Bloggers Conference and tied the knot a few years later. (Photo by Gerard Walen)

 

No, I am THEIR groupie. To the left is Ashley Routson. Green Flash Brewing representative, author of

No, I am THEIR groupie. To the left is Ashley Routson. Green Flash Brewing representative, author of “The Beer Wench’s Guide to Beer” and aka The Beer Wench. On the right is Julia Herz, craft beer program director at the Brewers Association and University of South Florida alumnus. We’re tooling about town in the back of the Brew Bus. (photo by Carol Dekkers)

 

Post conference, Carla Jean Lauter, aka The Beer Babe, slams down one of her favorites after a brewery visit. (Photo by Gerard Walen, who is just kidding)

Post conference, Carla Jean Lauter, aka The Beer Babe, slams down one of her favorites after a brewery visit. (Photo by Gerard Walen, who is just kidding)

 

FLORIDA BREWERY MAP AND LIST

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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.

Cheers!

Gerard

FLORIDA BREWERY MAP AND LIST

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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

CL_VS_RedFrogPub_02_Ren

CL_VS_RedFrogPub_Ext_ren

 

 

FLORIDA BREWERY MAP AND LIST

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