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How Big Does a Craft Brewery Building Need to Be?

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Craft breweries in South Florida come in all shapes + sizes.  And each has their own vibe, their own character, along with unique product offerings and “feel.”  How big does a craft brewery building need to be?

  • Florida Craft Breweries. Let’s face it: craft brewing in Florida is, relative to other states, kinda new.   And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Craft beer consultants and industry big wigs would tell you that the South Florida craft beer market is “under served“.  They mean that, per capita, there are fewer craft breweries in Florida than other places where craft beer is an important part of the culture, economy and scene.
  • Building A Craft Beer City or Region.  So, in places like North Carolina, or northern California, the San Diego area, even Santa Barbara, let alone Colorado,  https://www.coloradocraftbrews.com/colorado-breweries/ you have a number of craft breweries, and a longer history of those locales making great craft beer, and having the local population and customer base used to, and expecting, to enjoy a local craft beer.  Simply put: those areas have more craft breweries which folks regularly visit.  And which they often return to: repeatedly.  Craft breweries are a part of the fabric of those communities’ and regions’ economy, culture and life.  https://www.westpalmbeer.com/brewery/
  • Will West Palm Beach Be the Next Big Craft Beer City?  Hats off to the city of West Palm Beach, the Downtown Development Authority http://www.downtownwpb.com/  and the Community Redevelopment Authority  http://wpb.org/cra,  all of which recognize what’s going on in West Palm Beach: some exciting stuff !  Not only is “restaurant row” being created on South Dixie Highway just south of the downtown and north of Belvedere Road, but more craft breweries are investing in the area.  New craft breweries are slated to open in West Palm Beach in 2018, and the city recognizes that great craft beer, artisan work, can be an important part of the fabric, economy and culture of the city. 
  • South Florida Craft Breweries.  Here in South Florida, especially Palm Beach County, a remarkable thing happened over the last decade and is still going on right now.  Passionate, craft-beer-loving-folks started making beer in their garage or kitchen, simply doing a home brew.   And they liked what they tasted. And then they said: “Why not?”  They hunted around, saved money, borrowed money, and eventually found partners or backers and rented space to make craft beer right here in Florida. 
  • Craft Breweries Buildings.  So, now you have some breweries that are literally the size of a garage and some with 3000-4000 square feet just for production, canning and distribution.  At the West Palm Beach Brewery & Wine Vault at 332 Evernia Street in downtown West Palm Beach, they have a 6,000 square foot building that used to be a cross fit facility.  But the West Palm Beach Brewery has chosen not to distribute, and they don’t bottle or can, although you can purchase a 32 ounce crowler or a 64 ounce growler jug of their great craft beer.  They chose to use their space to house their brewery restaurant,  https://www.westpalmbeer.com/our-food/ their premium wine bar stocked with over 20 vineyard direct, limited production wines  https://www.westpalmbeer.com/our-wines/ which you can’t get anywhere else, a live performance stage, a living room, and indoor seating for 170 persons. Of course, they also have outdoor seating, shade and table service.  But, in the end, if you are building a Florida craft brewery, there are 5 considerations which you should think about when determining how big of a building you need for that craft brewery 1) what you can afford $$$; 2) how much you want to produce (do you distribute? do you bottle or can? do you have a 10 barrel or 20 barrel system? ; 3) whether you want to serve great food at your brewery; 4) whether you want to devote space for a craft brewery experience such as a stage, a game room, a TV watch area or a wine bar, for example; 5) how much seating capacity you want.  (Are you creating a neighborhood place where all the visitors and tourists describe the craft brewery as a “must visit“, or do you really want to use your brewery as a production facility to distribute beer in cans and bottles: and seating or tap room sales are not that important?)

In the end, there are some wonderful, artisan craft beer brewers out there who are connecting with beer drinkers, locals and visitors to Palm Beach County.  The future for Florida craft beer and local breweries is very bright. 

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Jul 19, 2018