Interview – Mike Bishop, Big Storm Brewing

Big Storm Brewing, located in the Tampa Bay area city of Odessa, opened in 2012. Their beers are found on draft and in cans statewide, and there in the middle of opening their third facility in the area.

I spoke to co-founder Mike Bishop about his brewing past, the rebranding, and where Big Storm is heading in the future.


Continue reading

Interview – Ryan Parker, Red Cypress Brewery

Red Cypress Brewery is a new brewery opening this weekend in Winter Springs, close to Orlando and the University of Central Florida.

I recently spoke with Ryan Parker, Red Cypress CEO and general manager about the brewery, the future, and not inviting demons into their tap room:


When did you first discover craft beer?

Continue reading

SaltWater Brewery’s Dustin Jeffers gives some insight about Mass Confusion

A few days ago, I gave some details about Mass Confusion, the festival at SaltWater Brewery in Delray Beach celebrating their Don’t Get Confused Belgian Dubbel.

Don’t Get Confused Belgian Dubbel. Image courtesy of SaltWater Brewery.

Because of awesomeness, I got to ask SaltWater’s Head Brewer Dustin Jeffers a few things about the event that you might find interesting…

Continue reading

Interview – Justin Miles, The Mack House/Holy Mackerel

The Mack House is the tap room/nanobrewing arm of Davie, FL-based Holy Mackerel Brewing. Recently, I was able to sit and chat with their brewmaster, Justin Miles.

Holy Mack exterior

The Mack House in Davie

What is your brewing background?

I started home brewing about 3 years ago, then I was bringing my stuff into the bar (Mack House). Eventually, the previous head brewer here left and they wanted to keep brewing. I brewed a test batch of a honey-lime ale, and they liked it.

What was the beer that got you started in beer?

If I had to say certain breweries, they would probably be Sierra Nevada and Flying Dog.

What is your general process for deciding on a new beer to brew?

We start with a lot of brainstorming, looking at the seasons. This fall, we could do some over the top culinary beers, but not many yet. We are going to be doing a honey brown rye and a rye IPA soon.

How do you source some of these ingredients? I know Davie has a lot of agriculture.

We get all of the honey in our beers from a local farmer in Davie, Natural Chai Farms. That farmer actually takes our spent grain and feeds it to the pigs on his farm. Sometime in the future, we are planning on doing a pig roast with a pig that has been raised on the grain from our beers.

That pig farmer is growing coffee, too. We also use locally sourced sweet potatoes. That gives the beers a great richness.

Which of your beers are you most proud of?

Probably Nib Slip (a chocolate Porter). It’s a really good beer. We used an experimental, grapefruit-y hop from Yakima and local cocoa nibs.

Will you ever do a Dunkelweizen?

Probably winter. It can be hard to get people to try different beers like saisons.

Yet you brewed a brown ale with andouille sausage. How hard was it to get people to try that?

For our craft beer people, it was actually pretty easy.

Did you use actual sausage in the beer, or the andouille sausage spices?

That’s Whole Foods actual fresh sausage in the beer. When we brew it, we let it sit for an additional 20 minutes to let the grease separate. Then we can skim the grease right off.

Holy Mackerel is one of many breweries in Florida that contract their bottling operations out-of-state. Do you think there is a negativity in the industry about that?

It depends on who you talk to. Some people bash it. I think it’s a great way to get your recipes out there. It’s a good way to distribute beers without investing in a setup like Funky Buddha.

So are you going to start doing collaborations with other Florida brewers?

We actually just did one with 3 Sons Brewing. We made a base saison and did two different treatments. We did one we called Sound Machine, with lime and rum-soaked mint leaves. 3 Sons did one with pink peppercorn and star fruit.

Craft beer in Florida is starting to boom. How do you feel about the future of the industry in Florida?

There’s still room to grow. We went to Atlanta and there are so many breweries there. Downtown, there are lots of places and they’re all doing well. Places like (The Mack House) where you go just for their beer are going to be big.

With Florida breweries that already exist, no one competes with each other. It’s a win for everyone.

Drink Florida Craft,

Chris & Dave


Interview – Joe Gonzalez, Holy Waters Brewing

One of the many breweries I discovered is Holy Waters Brewing, a small brewing group that is in the process of growing big in the Palm Beach Co. area.

Holy Waters Brewing

Holy Waters Brewing logo

First, who is Holy Waters Brewing?

Myself and my partner, Charles Chase. He has been a huge part of our success. He acts as co-founder, co-brewer, and co-representative.

Holy Waters is an interesting name for a brewery. How did you come up with that?

My partner and I are both Aquarius, and we were even born a day apart. We wanted to make this a part of who we were, part of our logo. Also, one of the biggest things that we want to be is South Florida. People come here for beaches, for fishing, for water. Plus, my holy water is beer. I love beer, whether it’s 0% or 6%. I hold beer very dear to my hear.

My wife was sitting next to Charles and I as we were enjoying a pint and discussing the topic of brewery name and suggested “Holy Waters”. It was a perfect fit. That’s how it came together. The name gave us a lot to play with. And my intent was not to ridicule the church; I believe everybody believes their own thing. For the most part the deep religious people that would have a problem with this aren’t going to beer festivals.

Is that why you have beers that are named after the seven deadly sins?

I had always wanted to make a Sin series. Years back, even before Holy Waters, I wanted to make the Seven Sins. Beer companies had series beers they launched. We wanted to do that, too.

What are each of the beers going to be?

The name has to fit the beer. We brew a recipe and when it fits, we name it. Gluttony, for example, has a lot going for it. With the different ingredients and adjuncts, we push that beer to be gluttonous, and it became Gluttony. Wrath isn’t solid yet. It may or may not be a red IPA. Once we open a facility we can play around with recipes and different releases. Right now we are focusing on our flagship recipes.

What is your background before you got into craft beer?

I tended bar for a long time as a young adult. When I was in high school, the drinking age was 18. At 18 I was drinking imports, beers that were unpopular at the time. The first time I had Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale, I was ecstatic. I had a palette of flavors. It was never really about drinking the cheapest beer to get drunk.

As I was getting started in the restaurant business, I was getting interested in promoting beers. I had brewed with Fran Andrewlevich of Brewzzi, injured myself and had to leave the industry. I opened another business, but my heart was in beer. I got into teaching, but realized I didn’t want to be a follower, and that lit a fire under me to start a brand.

It’s been a struggle, but my wife has been giving me her support and that has helped me 100%. If it weren’t for her, this wouldn’t have been able to happen. I’m happy to have the opportunity to do this. I continue to tend bar for some money, but it’s tough out there for the little guys.

As craft beer booms, many people are interested in getting hired as brewers themselves. What advice would you have for these people?

In all the years I’ve tended bar, I’ve never met so many homebrewers that wanted to open up a brew bar. The one word you have to use is commitment. You have to be committed and you have to sacrifice to do it. Don’t be fooled because you make good beer that you will make it. Look at the NFL. There is a tenth of a percent chance that you’ll make it. There’s a lot of commitment and sacrifice and hard work is what is necessary. You really have to work for it.

You’re still looking at opening up a production brewery. Have you thought about using Kickstarter or some other crowdfunding sites?

I have thought about it, but I don’t have anything solid. I’m still working on deals. We had looked at some 20-30 barrel systems because, when you look at the South Florida beer market, growth is strong. It makes better sense to start off big. I have a plan to start with a 30-barrel system that will be able to carry distribution for the southern side of the state. Plan B is in the works to open a smaller system, but there is more to come on that a bit later.

I think it’s awful we can’t distribute up to a certain point, like 100 barrels. That doesn’t hurt the big breweries. If small breweries were able to self distribute, it opens up the door for larger distributors to ask of them to distribute for us. My taking a keg to someone isn’t going to hurt anyone. That is an easy law to change, and there are a few states that allow it now. If my beer isn’t good enough to stay on tap, then it will work itself out.

How do you feel about the future of craft beer in Florida?

I thinks its super bright. You see other areas like California, Colorado, North Carolina, all these craft beer hubs have grown and more breweries continue to open. One thing that is very important for all of these areas is that they have a quality product.

South Florida is a big vacation spot and we want to make craft breweries a part of that. If it’s not up to standards, if we’re not careful with this growth, if South Florida has a couple of bad marks on them, it brings everybody down. If people do a brewery tour and 2 of 5 breweries aren’t good, that’s how it starts. It’s important, not just for us, but for everybody.






Plan B is in the works as a smaller system. More to come on that later

Interview – Leigh Harting, 3 Daughters Brewing

3 Daughters Brewing is a high-quality, fast-growing brewery located in St. Petersburg, Florida. They are currently distributing their beers in the Tampa/St. Pete area, with plans to go statewide very soon. I recently had the pleasure of talking with Leigh Harting who, along with her husband Mike, co-own 3 Daughters.


Image courtesy of 3 Daughters Brewing.

First of all, I can I safely assume your three daughters are the three daughters in 3 Daughters Brewing?

(laughs) That is us.

How do they feel about being the namesake of their parents brewery?

Our three daughters, they’re still pretty young. They’re 11, 9, and 5. They absolutely love it. We are very kid friendly. We have juice boxes and root beer, and the girls come in and see their friends. We have their handprints on one side of our bar.

On the bar?

We have a bar that likes to tell a story. One side has their handprints, and on the other side is a brick from Mike’s great grandfather’s brewery in Kentucky. It closed a long time ago.

How did you get started in craft beer?

We don’t come from a beer background. My husband and I met in the hospitality industry many years ago. I left to do IT marketing, but he stayed in it. He worked at Outback, and then we had an Italian concept restaurant on Beach Drive. My husband and Ty (Weaver, 3 Daughters’ head brewer) were making a beer battered fish recipe for the restaurant, and decided to make the beer they used for the batter. They did, and put the rest of the beer on draft.

When we did that, our beer became 40% of the craft beer we sold. And it was a hit! Mike called me up and said the next business we need to get into is craft beer.

So your head brewer is also a chef?

Ty, our head brewer, is also our head chef. He’s quite phenomenal. He can tell you everything in all of our beers. He’s a genius and has an amazing talent with creating innovative foods and unique craft beers.

Beach Blonde Ale by 3 Daughters Brewing. Image courtesy of 3 Daughters Brewing.

Beach Blonde Ale by 3 Daughters Brewing. Image courtesy of 3 Daughters Brewing.

When did you open?

We opened in December of 2013. We have a 30 barrel system about 5 blocks from Tropicana Field. We had been brewing for some time and had already gone through a Q&A process, so we had 3 beers ready for the truck. We had our tasting room, but our focus was on distribution.

You have a tap room as well?

Yes. We had thought the tasting room would be that a person would come in, have one beer, and move on. We had no idea how big a deal it would be. Now we have growler fills, live music, trivia nights, darts, ping pong. And it’s right on the brewing floor. It’s a very interactive place. We make great beers and have a place to relax at the end of the day. Creative Loafing posted a list of the Top 25 bars in the St. Pete-Tampa, and we got number one. We were absolutely floored and amazed.

When you started brewing, what were you making?

It’s funny, when we started, it was just Mike and Ty at the time. Mike is a phenomenal operator. When they started brewing, the one that sticks out in my mind is our flagship Beach Blonde Ale. It’s a great crossover beer for people that don’t know craft beer, but connoisseurs really like it to. It makes up about 50-60% of what we sell.

We also came out with Summer Storm Oatmeal Stout. My husband is big Guinness fan, so he wanted a stout. It’s a bit smoother than Guinness and nice and light. That’s a big misconception, that dark beers have to be heavy. That’s not true at all.

What about IPAs?

We didn’t start with an IPA because we thought market was saturated. People asked, and we came out with Bimini Twist. It’s our second biggest seller.

I also saw you have a dunkelweizen. I love those, but it seems like most breweries in Florida don’t make them.

Funny you say that. That beer takes a lot of education for people. Once people are educated, it’s our most requested beer. It’s brewed on a seasonal basis.

What about now?

We have four beers we offer year round, but there’s so much interest in the new recipes that we have stepped up our seasonals. We just released 4 Redemption Barrel Aged Quad. It’s one of my favorites. It’s a big beer, 11% ABV. Of course we’re doing the pumpkin beers, we called ours 3 Punkins.

Bimini Twist IPA by 3 Daughters Brewing. Image courtesy of 3 Daughters Brewing.

Bimini Twist IPA by 3 Daughters Brewing. Image courtesy of 3 Daughters Brewing.

What about collaborations?

We haven’t done a lot of collaborations yet, but we have kicked around ideas with other breweries. We have done beers with a local coffee brewer, though. We also did a proprietary beer for the Vinoy Renaissance in St. Pete, and we do beers for charity events.

How do you feel about the future of craft beer in Florida?

I am wildly excited. One thing about craft beer, the ground swell is fantastic for everybody. It’s our time. Denver had their time, Oregon had theirs, I think we’re ready and this is the time. The proof is all the craft breweries that are opening up in Florida and everyone is doing well.

Do you think there are too many breweries in the state?

I don’t think there are too many. Look at San Diego, and they have a lot of breweries per capita. There will be a continual shakedown.

Look at Rapp Brewing (in St. Petersburg). They have a small system in the back, they brew fantastic beers, they distribute locally, and that’s fine for them. Honestly I think it’s great for everyone. At the end of the day your beer has to stand on its own. There’s so much beer here in Florida you don’t need to bring in beers from other states. Florida beer stands on its own.

That’s the interesting thing about craft beer. It’s such a great community. You work closely with other brewers. We borrow, we give. We had another brewery come in to brew an IPA because we had capacity.

How do you ensure 3 Daughters stays consistent?

We have two golden rules we put up front. One, we are never going to short anyone beer. We will never exceed 80% capacity. In fact, new tanks are on their way. The day you short and can’t meet an order, you have ruined the impression with that person.

Two, if you like our beer today, you’ll like it in a month, and you’ll like it in 3 years. Our lab ensures consistency. They will actually put the yeast under a microscope and count the live yeast cells for our beers.

You have a lab?

Yeah! We partnered with USF-St. Pete and an adjunct professor there, Jim Leonard. He has PhDs in Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, and Biology. Craft beer is his passion.

We partnered to put in the first ever internship for beer. We screen candidates with biology background and good grades, etc. Now breweries like Cigar City, Green Bench, etc. are starting internship programs, too. All of those interns are coming from USF-St. Pete as well.

You’re releasing your beers in cans, right?

We decided to go with cans. I was voting to go with bottles because I like the ritual with opening them. But, with Florida and beaches on both coasts, you can’t use glass.

There was a time that every beer commercial was a bottle coming out of a cold stream. But there’s so much that can go wrong with bottles. I don’t know how some breweries distribute their beers in clear bottles. Cans have made a huge comeback. PBR remade themselves, and cans have really come back. Your beer is a lot better off going in cans than bottles.

Your beer names tend to be very beachy. Is that intentional?

It seems to be a common theme. All our brewers and our brand ambassador, if they’re not in the brewery, they’re in the water. That’s our passion. We want to have a Florida feel. Our tag line is “Florida Inspired, St. Pete Brewed.”

Channel Marker Red Ale by 3 Daughters Brewing. Image courtesy of 3 Daughters Brewing.

Channel Marker Red Ale by 3 Daughters Brewing. Image courtesy of 3 Daughters Brewing.

Drink Florida Craft,



Interview – Alden Bing, Orchid Island Brewery

Last week, I reviewed Orchid Island Brewery, a new citrus-inspired brewery in Vero Beach. I had the chance to chat with co-owner Alden Bing and talk about his new distinctly Floridian brews.

Orchid Island co-owners Alden and Valerie Bing outside the brewery. Image courtesy of Orchid Island Brewery.



What is your background before you got into craft beer? You are a banker, correct?

Yeah. (laughs) I’m trying to get out of the monkey suit.

What beers got you interested in craft beer?

My wife and I fell in love with craft beer at a Mellow Mushroom in Asheville (North Carolina). Bell’s Two Hearted Ale was a gateway beer. That was in the fall or winter of ‘07. In ’08, we were engaged. For my bachelor party, my buddies and I went to a place in Ft. Lauderdale where you could make your own beer. We made a batch of a Two Hearted clone for the wedding.

After that, I started tinkering around in my garage. I was homebrewing for the past 6 years. Then I started playing around with fruit growing in my yard.

Orchid Island made a name for itself with citrus flavors. Why did you decide to make that a signature for your beers?

Sebastian Inlet to Ft. Pierce, that is called Orchid Island. Historically it’s grown indisputably the world’s best grapefruit, the best citrus. Indian River County is like Sonoma or Napa is for grapes. A lot of the land has been pushed over for building hotels and condos, but there are some farmers that want to hold on and keep farming.

Do you have a good working relationship with some of those farmers?

I’m from the area, and I have a lot of close friends in the area that happen to be farmers.

You signed with Brown Distributing. Other than your tap room, where can your beers be found?

The Kilted Mermaid in Vero Beach and the Vero Beach Hotel. As we stabilize our production and get more beer out, we want to grow from a nucleus and drive traffic to our tap room. We’d like to also put it in places like Red Light Red Light in Orlando, give it to people that appreciate beer but are also critical. It will be good to get soundboards and get good feedback on how we are doing.

What are your favorite kinds of beers?

Lately I’ve been leaning towards IPAs and sours. They make for an easy association with citrus. I’m currently brewing a saison with brett (yeast). That’s probably where my interest has been. There are breweries in Massachusetts that are harvesting yeast off blueberries. And I’ve been discussing with labs in Indian River County to cultivate local strains off citrus.

I noticed that your beers are IPAs, very hop forward.

Centennials, citras, chinnoks, cascades, all of those are very citrus forward. It’s a good synergy. Plus, I think in our market in Vero Beach, it’s not quite there yet for sours, but it will take a little time. There’s running a company and also staying true to yourself. If I look at the business side, selling IPAs are where the money is.

But where my heart is tends to be more farmhouses, saisons. Originally those flavors were harvest driven, depending on local agriculture. I’m intrigued by, in the wine industry, people use the word terroir to describe the flavors of the local region. I’m very interested in that. You look at some of those, and the vintage may change from year to year depending on the flavors.

Have you thought about collaborating with breweries to accentuate your fruit flavors?

Yeah. We have a small 3 barrel system. We wouldn’t be able to accommodate a big event. We’ve talked to breweries about collaborations and subsidizing production.

Because we’re using the name Orchid Island, we need to build the brewery in a way to celebrate the name and the reputation that’s already here. As far as the brand is concerned, I’m very OCD about it. I’m trying to be esoteric about building. People locally are all aware of the Orchid Island reputation.

Your beer names tend to come from citrus you use and the region in general, right?

I try to add as many layers of naming as possible. Star Ruby is a grapefruit. Jungle Trail was an old road that farmers would take fruit on and off the island. It’s still there. I think another beer I want to do is with a white grapefruit called Duncan. That’ll probably be the common thread with our beer names.

How do you feel about the future of craft beer in Florida?

I’m really excited that there’s excitement about craft beer. I hope to see people be responsible about growing. I see people all of a sudden with 30 barrel systems. What if they’re making bad beer? It would be the 90’s all over again.

As craft beer booms, many people are interested in getting hired as brewers themselves. What advice would you have for these people?

Just understand what goes into making good beer. That’s really it.

Finally, and I’m asking this because I love orange, but are you making more orange beers?

Yeah. There’s this really cool strain of fruit called honeybell. It’s only in crop during January. For a long time it was a legendary fruit. The legend was that there were only a couple of trees that grew it and the citrus farmers hoarded it for themselves. Then it became more available commercially. In January they come into harvest and I’ll be using that. It’ll be supplied by a local farm.


Image courtesy of Orchid Island Brewing.

Drink Florida Craft,



Interview – Ryan Sentz, owner, Funky Buddha Brewery (@funkybuddhabrew)

Funky Buddha Brewery has been a Palm Beach and Broward county craft beer juggernaut since they started brewing in 2010. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Funky Buddha’s owner and brewer, Ryan Sentz.

20130601-08 Crowd-082

Funky Buddha’s production brewery in Oakland Park, FL. Image courtesy of Funky Buddha Brewery.

What is your background before you got into craft beer?

I graduated from UCF with a degree in psychology. I went for my masters at Nova, but then decided this isn’t what I wanted to do for a career, so I left. I did some HR work after than that, and then worked for the Sun Sentinel selling ads in their alternative newspaper. It was a lot like Miami New Times. I wanted to own my own business, though. I was selling ads to a guy that owned a place called R & R Tea Bar and Funky Buddha Lounge, a small place, that I ended up purchasing.

Why did you decide to brew your own beers instead of just selling other ones?

I was a homebrewer for 10-15 years and I thought it was going to be fun. We moved in and the lounge had a room with a big glass window. We thought, “Wouldn’t this be a great place to brew beer?” We ended up not brewing in that room, but the idea stuck.

What beers got you interested in craft beer?

Specifically Newcastle and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Newcastle was the first beer I had that wasn’t like malt liquor. It was better than Bud Light and the other stuff we were drinking in college.

Funky Buddha has made a name for itself with bold flavors. Why did you decide to make that a signature for your beers?

I don’t think it was intentional, we didn’t go out for a specific style or focus. I had a home brewer’s focus. We just tried to push the envelope and see what could be done. I’m just as proud of our hefeweizen. It’s just a fun thing for me to do.

What is the process for deciding what beers to brew next?

I at least try everything on the 1-barrel lounge system or the small brewery system.


Funky Buddha Lounge in Boca Raton, FL. Image courtesy of Funky Buddha Brewery.

Is there anything that’s just been too far?

We’ve definitely had beers that didn’t work out. I test out every beer before we make it. We never make a beer that’s weird for the sake of being weird.

What are your favorite Florida beers (other than Funky Buddha)?

There’s too many to single out. I love a well made pilsner; Wynwood Brewing did a good one not too long ago. I like sours, lighter beers, especially since it’s hot. There’s not a shortage of good breweries here.

I recently tried a great jackfruit sour from Tequesta Brewing.

Yeah, that one’s fantastic. They use a lot of local jackfruit in that beer. They sent us some for our anniversary and it went fast.

You’ve named one of your beers for the city you brew in (O.P. Porter). How does Florida inspire you and your beers?

We try to use local ingredients. I am mostly inspired by what we want to drink now, especially with the weather. We just did our Crusher (Single Hop Session IPA) to do a beer with big hop flavor but not have it be like 7% (abv).

Are there any other breweries you’d like to collaborate with?

Collaborations? Wow, Wicked Weed, The Bruery, let’s see. What is He’Brew now? Schmaltz. Them, too. As for Florida breweries, probably a lot of our friends like 7venth Sun.

What is the Funky Buddha brew you’re most proud of?

I probably would have to say Maple Bacon Porter because it got the most attention, it’s the one that got us the most attention. That and No Crusts, beers like that gave us the culinary edge.

You’ve expanded your brewery floor, and you’re opening a line for, what is it? Bottles or cans?


Why bottles? There are a lot of Florida breweries that decided to distribute in cans.

People’s exposure to good beers are beers that happened to be in bottles. Most people still think beer in cans are an inferior beer. That’s a battle we didn’t want to get into. I love cans and there are good things about them, we just thought that we didn’t want to get into that. If we do things right, we will have a really good product, bottle or can.


Image courtesy of Funky Buddha Brewery.

As Funky Buddha expands, more people are trying your brews for the first time. What would you give to a first-time Funky Buddha drinker?

It all depends on what kind of beer drinker they are. If they are just getting into craft beer, it’s give them something a little more culinary, something that is a little sweeter. If they are craft beer drinkers already, I’d give them something like our Double IPA or Belgian Tripel.

I love that tripel.

Thank you, that means a lot. It’s harder to brew a beer that people have tried before. No one really knows what their favorite Pina Colada beer is, because there aren’t a lot of Pina Colada beers. But a lot of people have tried a tripel before coming to us.

I have to ask this since I and two of my friends are huge Back to the Future fans. Is Doc Brown Ale a Back to the Future Reference?

(Laughs) Definitely. We have a lot of 80’s movie references. That one was such an easy reference to make since it’s a brown ale. It was originally called Doc Brown’s 1.21 Gigawatt Ale, but that name was way too long.


Yeah. If you look at the tap handle in our lounge in Boca, it’s painted like a glowing flux capacitor. Our artist did that.

I’ve spoken to other brewers, and they said one of the hardest things they have to do right now is naming new beers.

Yeah. We talked to our marketing team today. One of our beer names is actually taken. There are so many wineries and breweries that any name you think of has been done. It’s become a really hard deal. Last Snow was originally called Snowbird, because of all the snowbirds in the area. We looked it up, and Cigar City already did it.


Last Snow Porter from Funky Buddha. Image courtesy of Funky Buddha Brewery.

Is it harder to brew a brand new beer, or a standard that’s been brewed many times before?

Definitely the new ones. The standard ones are hard, because there are people that can pick up small differences. The unique beers are harder because you’re putting yourself out there and hoping people like it.

How do you feel about the future of craft beer in Florida?

You look some years ago and, not counting brewpubs, there were no major production breweries in South Florida other than Tequesta Brewing. Everyone here’s drinking domestics because there hasn’t been exposure to breweries. Once people are exposed to craft brews, that’s good for the industry and for everyone.

I spoke with a distributor once that said there are too many breweries in the area now.

Too many breweries? I disagree. Look at Asheville (North Carolina), there are a lot of breweries there, and not a lot of people. There are few breweries in South Florida, but with a ton of population. There’s a lot of room for growth here.

As craft beer booms, many people are interested in getting hired as brewers themselves. What advice would you have for these people?

Advice for new breweries? I would say make sure you have the money. It costs a lot more than what you think. It’s easy to underfund yourself.

As for brewers, do one of two things. First, go and get an education, places like Siebel or UC Davis. With so many places opening up, there are a lot of jobs. If you don’t get an education, go and volunteer at these places. It’s hard to get in when there are so many people wanting a job.


A lot of breweries are willing to have people come in and cleaned kegs. I know a lot of people that have gotten in that way. As long as the breweries have some sort of waiver, the people are getting free training and the breweries are getting free labor. Sometimes they may get paid.

You have to love it. (Craft brewing) is at least 90% cleaning. People are kinda shocked to hear that.

It’s funny you say 90%. I read an article that once that said brewing is 90% sanitation and 10% paperwork.

(Laughs). That’s 100% correct.

Where would you like to see Funky Buddha in the near future, say, 5 years?

I would certainly like to see it as a regional brewery, which is 15 or 20 thousand barrels, I think. Enough to get Funky Buddha all over Florida. But I really don’t have a specific goal. We just want to get our processes down and focus on making good beers.


Drink Florida Craft,