A new brewery, restaurant and beer garden will be setting up shop at a former fitness facility in Wesley Chapel — with an expected opening in the first quarter of 2020.
Anthony Derby, CEO of Brew Bus Brewing and the Florida Avenue Brewing Co., located in Tampa’s Seminole Heights, said the planned additional location for his company is ideal for its needs.
Derby said the brewery is one company, but owns two different brands: Brew Bus Brewing and Florida Avenue Brewing Co.
“We’re not sure which brand we’re going to put up there (in Wesley Chapel) yet,” Derby said.
If it hadn’t been for a relative, Derby said he may not have become aware of Wesley Chapel’s potential.
“My mother-in-law lives up there. I’ve been visiting up there, probably for the past three years, on and off, on weekends,” he explained.
During those visits, he noticed the area’s rapid growth and was attracted to it.
The new brewery will operate out of a 34,000-square-foot building at 2029 Arrowgrass Drive.
The building, previously Sports + Field, is off State Road 56 and near Interstate 75.
“We were working with a few other county economic development companies to be able to look at sites,” Derby said.
“Finding a property that big, that was well-suited, that was close to the interstate, was a challenge, as well,” said Derby, who had been looking in other parts of the state.
So, when they saw the Wesley Chapel site, it “kind of screamed at us,” he said.
“We’re extremely happy with the building,” he said, noting the brick building was built in 2005 and has modern features that are needed, including fire sprinklers.
“The building is awesome from a utilities standpoint. It has plenty of power.
“Being a gym, with showers and saunas in its previous use — the water line is massive. All of the drainage and stuff is great. And, usually, that’s the biggest issue for a brewery — the utility aspect of things,” Derby explained.
“We looked at some vacant land, as well. But, to build something, like what is already there, would be kind of out of our budget,” Derby said.
Some modifications will be needed.
“We will have to cut up the floors and put some drainage in,” he said.
Some more paved driveways will be needed. A chiller will be installed and air conditioners repaired, he added.
“We want to change the façade, maybe add some more glass. We’re really big on getting as much natural light into the building as possible,” he added.
A landscaping crew already has been at the site.
“It took them six days to cut back all of (the) brush and overgrown trees,” Derby said.
When the brewery opens, it will have a production space, offices, a full kitchen, a beer garden, and bar.
“In the restaurant, there will be a mixture of seated, served meals; and, we’ll have community tables,” he said.
The beer garden will have open-air and covered seating.
The company expects to have at least 46 to 50 employees to start, Derby said.
“We’re probably going to add more after that, once we’re able to judge the demand for the retail component,” he said.
“We’re in our design phase right now, with our architect. Once we have that nailed down, we’ll see what kind of equipment will fit. The size of the equipment is going to determine how much labor we would need.
“A lot of the jobs we would be bringing up there would be high-paying. We’ll have a full-blown lab up there, which will require a master’s in biology,” he said.
The company has been working with the Pasco Economic Development Council Inc., and expects to qualify for some economic incentives from Pasco County.
The company has received support from the Pasco EDC, from the North Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce, from government officials and from the brewery’s vendors.
While the Seminole Heights location operates buses that travel to breweries throughout the Tampa Bay area, there are no plans to house buses at the Wesley Chapel location, Derby said. However, it will be possible to make arrangements to use buses that operate out of the Seminole Heights location, to make it convenient for people who would want to enjoy the bus experience, he added.
The Wesley Chapel operation represents more than $8.7 million in new capital investment in Pasco County, according to a news release from the Pasco EDC. The location will be used for brewing, canning and distribution of the company’s craft beers.
“It’s great to reactivate a dormant property with high-paying manufacturing jobs in a unique industry,” Bill Cronin, president/CEO of Pasco EDC, said, in the release.
Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore also shared his thoughts, in the release.
“Not only are they creating jobs, but their new tasting room and restaurant will be a great destination for residents and tourists alike. Breweries are a huge part of the tourism market,” said Moore, whose district includes the site.
For more information about Brew Bus Brewing Inc., visit BrewBusUSA.com.
Published June 12, 2019
When are you opening and will you have live music
Mary Rathman says
Florida Avenue Brewing is now open in Wesley Chapel. Visit their website FloridaAveBrewing.com, to sign up for a newsletter for beer releases and upcoming events!
Mary Rathman, Editorial Assistant