While staying in Jacksonville, FL, we made our way over to Bold City Brewery on Monday, 2/3/14. This was the first craft brewery in Jacksonville in recent times and, as of now, their beers can be found in Jacksonville, Fernandina, St Augustine, Gainesville, Tampa, St Pete, Sarasota, and some of Lake City. The family who runs Bold City feels extremely privileged to be the first craft brewery in Jacksonville, and since they don’t really do any marketing, they owe much gratitude to the people of Jacksonville who have helped grow their brand.
After taking Friday off to catch up on writing and research during the day and visit Epcot at Disney World with our friends at night, we met up with the generous people of Orlando Brewing on Saturday, 2/1/14. The first thing we did was jump onto their free 45-minute public tour with James Elmer as our guide and learned all about their brewing process. Tod Caviness of the Orlando Sentinel joined us on that tour as well, and afterwards interviewed us; you can find that article here.
Immediately after checking out 7venth Sun Brewery on Wednesday, 1/29/14, we made a ridiculously long 2-minute drive all the way around the block to Dunedin Brewery in Dunedin, FL. Open since 1996, Dunedin is Florida’s oldest craft brewery with quite a few tricks up their sleeve. Not only do they brew, they also have food, live entertainment, and hold a ton of events. As soon as we walked in the door we were greeted by brewers Trace Caley and Richard Crance (Rick/ Ricky), along with their service/ sales manager Matt Barnett. Rick and Trace both claim there is no head brewer, but more so work as a brewing collective with the help of Mikey P., Simon Domb, and Lex Carr. Trace has been with the company for about 13-14 years and started homebrewing in 1992 simply because there was a limited amount of beers for him to choose from at that time.
Tuesday, 1/28/14, was a rainy day in Gainesville, FL, but luckily we escaped the gloom by hanging out inside Swamp Head Brewery. As soon as we walked in we were greeted by Brandon Nappy, who is their Tactical Marketing Manager. He told us that the building we were visiting will actually be demolished for an I-75 overpass that is being built for a big development, so they will not be able to renew their lease when it goes up in August. Instead, they are planning to build a new facility nearby, get it ready for a brewery, install an entire brewery, and then have it up and running with recipes dialed in; all of which needs to be completed before they can shut the existing brewery down. The goal is to break ground for the new place in April.
While we were back in Fairhope, AL, we ran into Shank and Tyler who are brewers at Grayton Beer Company in Santa Rosa Beach, FL. After speaking with them and enjoying a few beers, we decided to add Grayton to our list and spontaneously ventured over there on Monday, 1/27/14. Shank is the head brewer and has been with Grayton for 3 years, although most of that time Grayton Beer Company was contract brewing through Florida Beer Co, who at the time was in Melbourne, FL southeast of Orlando. Grayton’s new facility boasts an impressive 30,000 sq ft, although two separate 3,000 sq ft areas are being leased out right now, so they are using about 24,000 to house their 30bbl brewhouse, four 90bbl tanks, three 60bbl, and two 30bbl, along with a remarkable bottling line that has a 20 head system and is able to push through about 100 bottles per minute.