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Boldly Going Where No Jacksonville Brewery has Gone Before

02 Feb

Jacksonville’s own Bold City Brewery has been garnering a lot of national attention lately and with good reason. Since opening on Rosselle Street in the Riverside/Avondale area in 2008, Bold City has been turning heads. They were the first craft brewery in Jacksonville, they are owned by a mother and son team, they were the first in the area to bottle their beers for distribution to local grocery stores, and they were the first local brewery to serve their beer at local sporting events.

In the tradition of many of the great breweries of the Old Country, Bold City is a true family effort, too. Members of the Miller family (no relation to the other brewery by that name) man the taps in the tap room, assist with cleaning out fermentation tanks, marketing their brand, and bottling the beer. On Wednesday evenings you can usually find the whole family manning the bottling station as they cap and crate pallets of beer.

The brewery’s journey towards success began back in 2002 when Brian Miller – the son of the mother and son team – began home brewing beer. He joined the local brewing club, C. A.S. K. and soon after began collecting accolades on his brews. Soon after that the idea of running a brewery began to grow in the back of his mind. The seedling grew to a fully formed idea and Miller approached his mother Susan with the plan for the Jacksonville brewing icon. After researching the idea thoroughly, Susan Miller left her job at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida to join the Bold City team.

In Brian’s own words, “The concept of opening a business, any business, can be a scary one, but at some point, you have to allow yourself to dream about what could be and push forward with your aspirations.” So, with an infusion of capital supplied by a mortgage on Susan’s home, the two set out to build a brewing empire all their own.

Today Susan manages the business aspects of the operation including the Tap Room and dealing with suppliers. Brian has turned the brewing reigns over to his longtime assistant and has taken over the job of Brewing Operations Manager. In the more than three years since the brewery has opened, Bold City has expanded the size of their equipment and their facility. Recently they took out the wall of an adjoining unit in the warehouse they are situated in and built a third cooler.

And all that hard work has paid on in spades not only with legions of fanatical followers, but recently three separate and highly-respected publishers have honored the humble group.

Men’s Health named Bold City in its article “The Best Beers from NFL Cities” citing Fritz’s and Bold English in its write up, “Try Fritz’s Hefeweizen for a sterling example of a German wheat beer, or the Bold English Old Ale if you’re looking for deeper flavor.”

Draft Magazine, in its article on breakfast beers (yes, beer is now a breakfast drink alongside Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s) recommended Killer Whale Cream Ale paired with croissants.

And, Rate Beer, one of the ‘Net’s most popular and authoritive beer websites, named Bold City as one of the Top 50 Breweries to visit in the world. Bold City was ranked right up there with Sierra Nevada in California and St. Sixtus in Belgium.

Never let it be said that a man’s dream cannot come to fruition; at least not around Bold City brewery. Brian and the gang may have something to say about that. And, though it took plenty of hard work and long hours, the great folks at the brewery wouldn’t change a thing.

Until next time,

Long Live the Brewers

Cheers!

Marc Wisdom

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