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What Makes Florida Craft Breweries Unique?

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What makes Florida breweries unique, or special or at least different than other breweries?  After all, the various regions of the “craft world” have different experiences, different approaches and unique creations unto their own, right?  Here are 5 things which make Florida craft breweries unique.

  1. We Got the Sun !   Let’s face it, we have the sun about 333 days a year!  That means even when we “slow down” after Easter and before Thanksgiving –our “season“– we don’t close down.  I was approached about “doing” a craft brewery back home in Massachusetts in an old mill town.  One of the things which we were challenged by was the down time due to storms, and winter. Cold brutal days. I decided to pass. One of the reasons for this? We thought the winter months would be too slow.  Here in Palm Beach County and throughout Florida, even with Hurricane Season, we are open all the time and have the weather to back up the good times. At our brewery in West Palm Beach, our patrons love to sit outside in the shade, during the day and definitely in the evening.  They tell us constantly that there is something special about sipping great craft beer and having a bite to eat from our brewery restaurant outside in the evening.  
  2. Under-Served Craft Beer Market.  Ask any brewery consultant and they will tell you that the Florida market for craft breweries is under served.  There are not a lot of breweries per capita compared to other regions like California, especially particular metro regions like San Diego and San Francisco.  So, that’s great for the craft beer consumer!  You should be getting more, innovative and new choices for your craft beer experience in the Sunshine State.  Look for more breweries of different sizes, and product mixes, to open up over the next 5 years.  
  3. Tourism.   The craft breweries in Florida know that we get a lot of snow birds, part time winter residents, and tourists.  A lot.  Folks vacation down here, visit our beaches in the winter time, and visit family and friends who have moved down to Florida and now call it home.  Never mind how many who come down here just for a golf weekend or a conference or convention center.  Ask the folks at the “brand” new Palm Beach County Convention Center http://www.pbconventioncenter.com/and they will tell you that literally thousands of visitors are coming to Palm Beach who weren’t before.  Seriously.  Like, thousands of new faces each week.  That’s right.  With the new convention center just steps from the West Palm Brewery, for example, there is now a brand new audience to enjoy craft beer made right here.  What does that mean for Florida craft breweries?  It’s a chance to reach a broader audience of craft beer lovers more quickly.  It’s an opportunity to connect with folks from all over the country and introduce your craft beer to folks who may never have met you. 
  4. Spirit of Adventure.  Because Florida has such a very short history of craft brewing, we are literally making it up as we go. Florida is for craft beer like Napa was for wine in the 70’s.  There is a group of small, artisanal companies and individuals who are passionate about craft brewing and making incredible craft beer. At the West Palm Brewery, we talk constantly about creating an experience at the brewery at 332 Evernia Street for our guests.  There is definitely an excitement in the air.  A sense that we are doing something really fun and new.  Hopefully, this is reflected when you are in our tap room, touring our 10 barrel production facility, or sitting outside in the shade.  Of course, hopefully this spirit of craft beer adventure is also respectfully reflected in the glass. 
  5. No Rules.  West Palm Beach didn’t even have rules for craft breweries a year ago!  Thankfully, the city embraced the artisan nature of craft beer and the potential of this market, and, very quickly I might ad, created rules to permit the production of craft beer downtown.  Thank you West Palm Beach !   My guess is that many Florida towns and cities are like that.  After all, who, admittedly, saw the craft beer industry “take off” like it has?  With the guidance and encouragement of the city of West Palm Beach and the Downtown Development Authority, http://www.downtownwpb.com/we all worked hard to get it right.  Folks at the downtown Community Redevelopment Agency were particularly encouraging.   http://wpb.org/craConstruction began, and, in less than two years since I first decided to open a brewery, we all brought the multi-billion dollar craft beer industry to Evernia Street in Downtown West Palm Beach.  Now, folks walk Evernia Street, hang outside of the brewery at a table or in the shade, read books, meet friends and co-workers after work on what used to be a slow, dusty street.  With the addition of the West Palm Brewery to Evernia Street, you now have a little neighborhood feel to that area.  Blind Monk, https://theblindmonk.com/a great West Palm wine bar, has been there for years, with a wonderful product offering and loyal customer base.  We are proud to be their neighbors. New businesses are coming, too, like Pipeline Poke Bowl next door to the brewery:  https://www.pipelinepokeco.com/ My point is that many Florida municipalities probably don’t know what to expect from the “new” craft brewing industry.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing if everyone works together. 

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May 17, 2018