What’s New with Your Favorite Brews?
Tampa Bay Craft Beer Roundup
The beer industry accounted for more than 16,000 direct and indirect jobs and total economic output of $2.3 billion in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area in 2018, according to a study prepared for The Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association.
Here’s a roundup of what’s going on with the breweries and brews of Tampa, St. Petersburg and the surrounding areas.
Cigar City & CANarchy
In May, Tampa-based Cigar City announced its distribution expansion to Missouri, giving the company a foothold in the Midwest. The expansion serves two purposes: to benefit Cigar City and expand the presence of CANarchy, a national collective of like-minded brewers, of which Cigar City is a part of.
Recently, the Tampa Bay Times reported that President Trump’s tariffs are beginning to impact Florida brewers. Procurers of steel kegs were expecting the 25 percent increase on Chinese keg imports and the 10 percent added for steel.
They weren’t, however, ready for additional duties to be added to on Chinese keg imports when they happened in June. These were added because the U.S. Commerce Department reported that China was undercutting fair prices in the market. Today, companies that supply kegs to Florida brewers are having trouble keeping up with the demand.
Brew Bus Expansion
Brew Bus Brewing is planning to expand in Pasco County. The Tampa craft beer distributor will open a brewery, beer garden, restaurant and event space in the former home of the Sports & Field Family Athletic and Fitness Club on State Road 56 in Wesley Chapel, according to The Tampa Bay Times.
The company has purchased the 34,000-square-foot property and plans to invest almost $9 million in the space that is projected to employ 46 people. The company brews 8,000 barrels of beer a year at its 15,000-square-foot home in Seminole Heights and offers bus tours of Tampa’s craft beer scene.
Yuengling, a Pennsylvania company that owns a brewery in Tampa, has big expansion plans for the Tampa space. Yuengling has filed plans with Tampa’s zoning board for a 140,000-square-foot hotel with 150 rooms, as well as a 12,700-square-foot restaurant, to be added to its Florida brewery. Other potential additions include a museum, beer garden, microbrewery, conference center and gift shop. Yuengling has operated the 350,000-square-foot Tampa facility, its only brewery outside Pennsylvania, since 1999.
There’s a lot going on with Tampa breweries in 2019, but if you’re looking for something to do now, check out Webb’s City Cellar, which opened at Green Bench Brewery earlier this year. Webb’s City Cellar is Green Bench’s second tasting room and barrel-aging facility adjacent to its original location.
The name is an homage to Webb’s City Drug Store, the “World’s Most Unusual Drug Store” which first opened in downtown St. Petersburg in the mid-1920s. It took up seven city blocks and had 77 departments, including a meat market, beauty salon, hardware store and a mermaid show.
“Webb’s City Cellar will allow us to experiment with mixed culture fermentation, oak aging and wood fermentation, and develop high-quality blends and alternative whole fruit and spontaneous ferments, while also broadening our mead and cider branch of the business,” according to the Webb’s City Cellar website.