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Craft Beer in America –the best place to drink craft beer right now

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Where is the best place to drink craft beer in America right now?  Here’s 5 reasons why Florida is not just for tourism any more.  Although…..craft beer tourism is an important, and an ever-growing, part of the economy.  Seriously, here’s why Florida is the best place in America right now to drink craft beer.

  1. Multiple Influences  Most people in the craft beer industry, like, I mean, consultants and executives and serious beer writers and commentators, will tell you that the Florida craft beer market is under-served.  There are NOT as many craft breweries in Florida, or, say, South Florida, as similarly sized metro areas or regions in other states. This includes states which are “well known” for craft beer, and thought of as craft beer havens, like California, North Carolina, and Colorado. In Florida, you have so many influences, mainly, I suppose, because so many people are from elsewhere.  Go to Naples or Ft. Myers on the West Coast of Florida and you get lots of folks from the mid-west.  Tampa has a strong influence of folks from New York, maybe because the Yankees’ Spring Training Facility is there. As, as they say, in Florida, the further “south” you go, the more “north” you get.  Indeed, south Florida, like Stuart, Florida south to Miami, mostly Palm Beach and Broward Counties, are filled with folks from the northeast. Lots of residents from Massachusetts, Phillie, New Jersey, and New York, head south on Rt. 95 for the sunshine. North Florida is south Georgia.  And Dade County is wonderfully Latin-influenced. You get it.  So, my point is that there is not pre-conceived “style“, notion, nor approach to Florida craft breweries or Florida craft beer.  To paraphrase Gump, it’s a wonderful box of chocolates and you never know what craft brewery experience you will get in Florida. 
  2. Double Down   It’s an exciting time to be a brewer or to work in a micro brewery in Florida.  Many of those who already have a craft brewery and tap room are expanding.  Hats off to existing breweries who are expanding their production, increasing the size of their tap room, and who are opening brand new breweries in new regions. In Palm Beach County alone, in the last 10 months or so, there have been 3 new breweries that have opened and two more are slated to debut shortly.  Folks in the Palm Beach County craft beer biz, and indeed in Florida, appear to be invigorated by the reception from locals and tourists to the expanding craft beer presence in the Sunshine State.  More options for consumers, more neighborhood establishments for cities and towns.  Artisan. Craft.  Way to go. 
  3. Open 24/7     The owner of the West Palm Beach Brewery was recently asked to consider investing in a startup brewery in an old mill town in Massachusetts, close to the New Hampshire border.  One reason he passed was the weather.  Is anyone really going to visit a brewery in a snow storm when the streets are dangerous and the outside is cold and treacherous?  Here in Florida, you can make a similar case for Hurricane Season with one big difference: just before and after the storm arrives, most people are itching to get out, to get a cold one before the storm comes. Of course, after the storm, everyone has had cabin fever enough, so they want to get outside.  But having a  year round climate, and tourism and visitors helps.  Yes, summers are slow, but folks who are local still need things to do, and lots of northerners still come down to play golf or visit water parks or our beaches.  Yes, Florida is open 24/7 and promises to offer an expanding line of not only craft beers, but also new breweries with yet to be determined options and experiences.  Florida’s economy may be based on sunshine but the craft beer brewing industry is very bright, especially in South Florida.  To read more about the craft beer industry, consider: https://www.brewersassociation.org/
  4. No Rules  There is no pre-conceived style or attitude about the beer in Florida.  Tourists and locals love all the styles and beer types, everything from Pilsners to Lagers to a multitude of ales and the darker beers, like Porters and Stouts and even brown ales.  Florida does not have a “style” yet, like a “west coast” IPA or a New England hazy beer, and who knows whether that will happen or not.  Variety and ingenuity rule the day in South Florida.  
  5. Makin’ It Up As They Go  So, you have this “wild west” attitude in Florida.  The brewers and operators are making it up as they go, guided mostly by personal preferences and less by a marketing plan or business model.  Some breweries offer 90% IPAs and no dark beers. Others hit for the cycle.  You can go into a 400 square foot tap room in Palm Beach, with only 5 beers, or enter a tap room with 20 draft beers  https://www.westpalmbeer.com/our-beers/  on tap all the time down the street.  The only driving forces behind the craft beer industry are  passion and a desire to make a great American beer.  Right there in Sunny Florida.  The best place in American to drink craft beer right now. 

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Jul 24, 2018