Southern Swells Brewing Co. is the newest brewery to open in the 904 and join the burgeoning craft beer scene. Located on 1312 Beach Blvd. in Jax Beach, the brewery was founded by Corey Adams and Jay Varney. The duo, who went to high school together up in Rhode Island, both ended up moving to the First Coast shortly after graduating college.

Since then, the two fell in love with everything this city has to offer, particularly the rapidly growing craft beer scene. “We both put down our roots and started families here, and can’t image living anywhere else,” Adams said. The brewery is a spacious 7,500-square-foot facility with a large taproom and event space.

We recently spoke with Adams and he gave us a little more insight into why they decided to open up shop here in Jax Beach.

Southern Swells 3

Inside the taproom, there is also an dedicated space available for special events, parties, etc.

How did you get into brewing? Were you a homebrewer first?

Corey: I got my first homebrewing kit for my 21st birthday and haven’t looked back since. Over the last decade, we have both been actively homebrewing, and during the last 4 years since we made the commitment to open Southern Swells, we have focused on furthering our brewing education — specifically as it relates to brewing at the commercial level.

Why open a brewery? What made you decide on Jax Beach as a home base?

Corey: Opening a brewery was something Jay and I always talked about over a couple pints, but it wasn’t until about 4 years ago when we really made the commitment to take our passion for craft beer and brewing to the next level. As far as location, we always had our hearts set on Jax Beach, the community, the vibe and the proximity to the ocean really resonated with the atmosphere we envisioned for Southern Swells.

What is the vision/goal for your beer? Is there something in particular you want to gear Southern Swells to? 

Corey: We plan to be pretty diverse in the styles we brew, including everything from pale ales and stouts to witbiers and Berliner Weisses. The focus will be less on core beers and more about continuing to explore new styles and recipes. We also have a vision of developing a barrel program to consistently produce aged, mixed fermentation sours a little bit down the road.

Southern Swells 2

The brewery is a spacious 7,500-square-foot facility with a large taproom and event space.

When are you guys going to start brewing, when can we expect to see it out?

Corey: We plan to start brewing in early February and are shooting to have our beers on tap somewhere around the end of March or early April.

What styles are you guys planning on doing first? What about later on down the line?

Corey: Our first brew will be our saison (named “Lyla Joan” after Jay’s oldest daughter), it has been our most awarded beer at the homebrewing level. We have the recipe really dialed in, so it is a perfect test batch for our first brew on the 10-barrel system. Down the road, we have plans for just about everything.

What’s your favorite local brewery and what do you guys make of the current beer scene in the area?

Corey: Honestly it is too tough to pick one, because all the breweries in town are really doing exceptional things to contribute to an overall awesome beer scene. We consider ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to be a part of it, and I feel that Jacksonville has the potential to rival some of the best beer towns in the country.

Ready to see what Southern Swells is all about? Look below:

Southern Swells 1