Craft beer lovers get ready for the taste of some new brews in Pasco County.
Florida Avenue Brewing Co., anticipates opening by the end of July, possibly as soon as July 15.
“We’re super excited about it,” said Anthony Derby, chief executive officer of Florida Avenue Brewing.
“This project is bigger than what I imagined it to be – in a good way,” said Derby, who also is a founder and CEO of Brew Bus Brewing in the Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa.
When Florida Avenue Brewing opens in Wesley Chapel, Derby anticipates it will be able to produce 60,000 barrels a year, and claim its place as the largest locally owned brewery in Florida.
A grain silo will allow storage of grain in bulk.
The brewery will have about 14 distributors selling its craft beers statewide, from Tallahassee to Key West.
The Pasco County Commission recently approved an economic incentive payment of about $253,000. In return, Florida Brewing will create at least 42 jobs related to the manufacturing activities of the brewery, according to the county’s agreement.
The payment also will fund an employee training grant for Pasco-based employees, and reimbursement of county utility service connection fees.
Derby anticipates that as many as 150 jobs in manufacturing and retail, including restaurant positions, will be created over time.
The brewery will open in the former Sports + Field, at 2029 Arrowgrass Drive.
Construction work on a major remodel of the building is nearly complete.
Florida Brewing will have a full restaurant, a 3,500-square-foot outdoor beer garden, a private beer garden for special events, an open kitchen, and a large closed kitchen.
Patrons will have an open view through glass into the brewery from inside the dining room, as well as from the outside.
Derby envisions Florida Brewing as a community gathering place to enjoy craft beers, family and friends, sports on television, dining, music, and games such as corn hole and bocce.
In the midst of COVID-19, there were a few delays in construction. But, everything is coming together, Derby said.
The cannery line, for example, came from Italy, a hot spot for COVID-19. Brewing equipment from Washington State, also a COVID-19 hot spot, will be shipped shortly, Derby said.
Patrons’ safety is foremost, so Derby said Florida Brewing is closely watching changing guidelines on opening for business, including social distancing and allowable capacity.
Florida Brewing will be ready for everything, said Derby.
“We’re preparing disposable menus,” he added.
The Wesley Chapel site eventually will produce about 80% of the company’s beer products, and will be the company’s flagship location, Derby said.
Brew Bus Brewing and Florida Avenue Brewing are affiliated, but Florida Avenue Brewing is the company’s flagship brand.
Operations will continue in Seminole Heights at Brew Bus Brewing, a popular Tampa and Seminole Heights destination, and a starting point for public and private beer tours throughout Tampa Bay.
Florida Brewing is making an investment of about $12 million at its new location, including renovations to the building.
County officials estimate Florida Brewing Bus will contribute an average of $15.7 million to the Gross County Product.
Pasco’s economic potential is well-known to Derby, whose mother-in-law lives in Wesley Chapel.
Before settling on the Arrowgrass site, the company looked at a vacant 15-acre site near the Tampa Premium Outlets.
“It just wasn’t right for us,” Derby said.
The former Sports + Field building — with its large size and prime location near ongoing development off State Road 56 — felt like the perfect fit.
“I’ve seen this area grow,” he said.
For information and job opportunities, visit FloridaAveBrewing.com.
Published June 17, 2020