A lot can happen in a year, especially in the ever-changing world of craft brewing. Since our beer issue last September, the Jacksonville scene has continued to flourish, with existing breweries seeing continued success and even a few new ones cropping up, hoping to make their way to a tap handle near you.
Over in Goodby’s Creek near Baymeadows, is a brewery that’s just beginning to break ground on a beautiful, waterfront location. Owners, Brett Baker, Tobin Turney and Philip Maple hope this one, dubbed Wicked Barley Brewing Company, will be the first of their many pubs.
“We want multiple locations in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas, with each pub producing our beer, onsite including certain beer and foods being unique only to that location,” the owners said. “Jacksonville has grown so much in recent years in terms of local craft beer and great restaurants, but there’s room to grow even more. We are excited to be a small part of that growth.”
Originally venturing into the world of craft brewing, like most people who open a brewery, the trio began as homebrewers and, well, like most homebrewers, decided they should have a crack at it.
“Most home brewers can attest you get to a point where you try a beer and you say to yourself, I think I can brew this, or I think I can do this better. Our hobby turned into a passion where all we want to do each day is brew beer,” they explained. “About three years ago, we were pretty much fed up with working dead-end, soul-crushing corporate jobs.”
After that, Wicked Barley was born, and within the next couple months, construction will begin on their first location. The team hopes to have the brewery open by March 2016, but with construction delays, they aren’t saying anything for certain. But until then, you can always head down to St. Augustine to try something new.
Just take a quick trip down to the nation’s oldest city and you’ll find Ancient City Brewing, the newest craft brewery to open in the area.
Vance Tyson Joy, the head brewer and brewery manager of Ancient City Brewing, helped to launch this new venture alongside Greg Tuttle, the brewery’s owner.
Joy, who also began as a homebrewer, but worked as a commercial brewer before taking on his role at Ancient City, said they are proud to be opening a true, full-scale brewery in St. Augustine.
“Seeing as the only brewery in this area was a brew pub and did not distribute outside of their own location, we felt that this area needed a full-production brewery.”
While growth is on the minds of Joy and Tuttle, they both want to make sure that Ancient City doesn’t sacrifice quality. Their first goal is to bring their city a selection of strong, local beers the community will be proud of.
Once the brewery has a solid footing in the local scene, Joy said he wants to see their beer expand to nearby markets, such as Gainesville and Jacksonville. With four beers already on tap at their location, there’s already plenty enough to sample.
While the local craft beer scene continues to expand here in North Florida, we can only hope that more successful breweries will continue to pop up all over town. Perhaps one day our hometown lineup will be just as impressive as other craft beer meccas, such as Portland, Oregon or Asheville, North Carolina.