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2015 The Year of the New Brewery!

There are new breweries opening all around. The year is off to a good start as two have already opened in Dade county. Several are opening in western NC as well. I will list them and visit as many as possible. The logos to the right are all from new breweries that opened in 2015. Of course these breweries have been in the works for several years. To make the list the brewery must actually open in 2015. If I can visit there will be a review below as usual. Up first: MIA Brewing, over two years in the making! The 'soft opening' was on January 9th. Great start to the year.

State of the Craft Brewing Industry

As another year began, I was thinking about the Craft Beer industry and where it might be headed in the future. The industry has grown by leaps and bounds since the turn of the century. Can this continue? With over 3000 breweries in the US, can there be room for more? There are hundreds of IPA's - do we really need another? The answers are yes, yes and I'm always ready to try another IPA. Let's look at a few facts: In 1880 there were 2200 breweries in the US. This was before widespread distribution became possible due to the advent of refrigeration and pasteurization. So, almost every town had a brewery for local consumption. With just over 50 million people in 1880, the number of breweries today could be 13,200. Today, there are national and regional brands and many small local breweries. Most of the new breweries are small and local, operating in neighborhoods or towns. There will be competition, which will raise the quality and diversity of brews. We now have just over 8% of the market here in the US. There will be changes in the coming years. There will be some consolidations of larger brewers to increase efficiencies and merge certain corporate functions that most small brewers don't have the desire or money to do completely. Exports will increase. Breweries continue to open; I opened my e-mail yesterday to discover two more. One in Greenville, SC and the other in Waynesville, NC. Western NC will soon have breweries almost everywhere; there seems to be enough business for everyone. I have heard estimates that Dade county could support 70 or more. We have already started and the ride will continue for the rest of this decade. 20% of the market by 2020? I'll drink to that!

Cheers, Larry

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MIA Brewing Opening Night Photos
MIA Brewing Opening Night shots

MIA Brewing Co. - Doral, Florida

MIA had their 'soft opening' on January 9, 2015. The event was over two years in the making. I first met the guys behind MIA at a local brewfest showcasing new local breweries and home brewers. The new brewery was named Most Wanted Brewery and the brews were appropriately named. There were some different beers including some with local flavor. The location of the brewery was "somewhere in the Doral area". Over time the name was changed and a location was found. In October 2013 "Ground Breaking Day" was open to the public. I visited and saw a warehouse with offices and some new equipment ready to install. There area few pictures on the GBL FB page of the event. The sample brews were improved and they had more styles. The opening event was fun; over 1000 folks came through the night. I met some friends there and really enjoyed the brews and different styles. There has been a lot of thought and work to make this happen. They went through over 40 kegs that first night. The beer names are all Miami - centric with names like "Tourist Trappe, Rye Tortuga and Miami Weiss to name a few. This was just the start; there are over 50 taps at the long bar and there will be food available form a place opening right next door. I was most impressed with the many different styles available on the first night. Photos on the GBL FB page. See you there!

Jupiter Brewfest 2015 Logo
Fiedl of Beers 2015 / Barley Mow Brewing
Wynwood Brewing Co Pops cut out / Happy Beer Couple

Field of Beers / Craft Brewers Festival - Jupiter, FL

One of South Florida's premier beer events, the seventh annual Field of Beers was held Friday January 23rd. The event is limited to 375 people and has 15 stations where a beer is paired with a special food selection. The event is in the dugouts and infield at Roger Dean Stadium. This year there was a dessert area out by second base. This opened up some space in the dugouts where it can get crowded. Some memorable pairings: Stout braised short rib sliders paired with Funky Buddha Wide Awake it's Morning Imperial Stout. The Venison Chile with Twisted Trunk Finn McCool Irish Red Ale was outstanding. Jackalope Sausage with Swamp Head Sciaenhops Imperial Red also got a thumbs up from many. Some unusual pairings were: Egg Korma (A Curry based Indian dish) paired with Brooklyn's Hefeweitzen. Also Thai Green Papaya Salad and Chicken Karaage with Green Room Grass is Greener Double (Brett) IPA. All the dessert stations, out by second base, were fun and a good end to the evening. The Field of Beers is a culinary delight and it's great to reconnect with many industry people and make new friends as well. The event quickly sold out on-line; if you would like to try it next year check the website in mid December. See you there!

The festival was on Saturday afternoon. This was the 9th annual and the organizers really have everything down. After entering the stadium there is a wide variety of food available. The festival area is set up with tents around the perimeter and a few in the center. The number of people was right as I rarely felt crowded or had to wait too long in line. If there is a line go somewhere else and come back later. This year my idea was to only drink beer that I had not had before. The brewery could be one I know but try only different brews. This worked out well as the brewers try to bring different special releases and there were many new Florida breweries. Barley Mow was great; soon they will be in our area. Proof brewing was tried for the second year. Barrel of Monks, of Boca, is great and will be open soon. Intracoastal Brewing of Melbourne had the brew of the day. The Blonde Stout was amazing; cover your eyes, take a sip and it's a stout -full bodied and roasty. Open your eyes to the surprise of a light golden ale! Pretty good. Copperpoint nee top had some good samples and quite a story about being forced to change their name by another brewer. Great beer names; Sue You Saisson, Name Changer IPA. Twisted Trunk Brewing; opening in North Palm Beach, created by the organizer of this festival and another local brewer. Fran Andrewlevich and Matt Webster have years of brewing and industry experience behind them. This venture looks like a winner. I look forward to visiting. Time flies..the 10th event will be here before you know it!

Pair o' Dice Brewing Tasting Flight
Fermentation Tanks at Pair o' Dice Brewing Co

Pair o' Dice Brewing Co. - Clearwater, FL

After my annual trip to the 12 hours of Sebring race, I headed to Clearwater for a two day visit. I knew about Pair o' Dice and found a hotel nearby. It was a long day going to the races and all the driving. We were ready to enjoy a few beers. Pair o' Dice was founded by a husband and wife team that appreciates hop forward west coast brews. Perfect, as I have the same taste. Their story is cool; they both worked at Budweiser, discovered craft brewing and returned to Florida to open their own brewery. The brewery is located in a small warehouse area that has nothing else open at night. The night of my visit there was a special local event; tasting of all the leftover beer from a beer judging the prior week. This brought out local craft beer people to sample some interesting brews. There was a good taco truck serving as well. I had a flight and several samplers. Everything was good and most were hop forward as promised. There were 3 IPA's with Pit Boss Triple IPA the best. It can also be purchased in 22 ox bomber bottles. My friend, a stout lover was surprised to find 7 stouts available. He tried them all and liked Russian Roulette Imperial stout the most. My favorite was Let it Rye'd IPA a really tasty Red IPA. I have been enjoying the revival of Red Ales recently. The taco truck provided excellent eats and made our night. The tasting room is a friendly place and we spoke with many like minded folks. I will return when in the area and recommend POD to all. Website:

Lazy Hiker Brewing Co. Franklin, NC logo

Lazy Hiker Brewing Co. - Franklin, NC

The Lazy Hiker has been in the planning / building stage for several years. It all paid off when the doors opened on May 20th. Situated in the old town hall in Franklin, NC, the building has been completely re-purposed into NC's newest brewery. It is ironic that a brewery now occupies the town hall in a formerly dry county! Getting here was quite a project and I think the town will like the atmosphere here and the brews. I was there on day 5 with my cousin who lives locally and knows the owners. Head brewer Noah McIntee has been there since last August, when most of the building work was done but no brewing equipment installed. Noah brewed at Pearl Street Brewing in Buffalo, NY and has many years of varied brewing experiences. He was there the day I visited and kept busy with brewing and keeping things running. I also met Lenny, one of the owners who was pleased to see his operation welcome patrons. The beer - line up is varied and all created for the opening. All styles were done well and I enjoyed the taster of each. My favorite was the Inaugural IPA, with a floral aroma and nice bitter finish. I can't wait to try the "Grand Opening" Double IPA slated to debut at the grand opening June 13th. My cousin liked the Inaugural Ambe,r a malty darker amber with fruity notes and a sweet finish. The place was filling up as we left; I think the new place is going to fit right in in Franklin and they will undoubtedly get some hikers ready for a break off the AT. There are a few photos on the GBL FB page and the website is at


Fireman Capital - South Beach, FL

The event was a meeting with potential investors for craft breweries. I brought some beer history and operations knowledge focusing on the current craft beer movement. The group will invest in some popular breweries and leave the existing management and culture intact. This will give the brewery room and finances to expand and increase market share and presence. Interest was high and later in the year an entity was formed to invest as mentioned above. As for breweries they are buiyng...I know nothing....!