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Craft beer: A catalyst for neighborhood revitalization

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Springfield building under renovation to house the Main & Six Brewing Company. Photo by MetroJacksonville.com

Just a few months ago, I stood before members of the Jacksonville City Council several times to express my support for breweries that wanted to open in the Springfield National Historic District. I used my three minutes of speaking time to hammer some facts about the benefits of breweries to re-emerging neighborhoods like Springfield. My goal was to impress upon the voting members of the Land Use and Zoning (LUZ) committee how breweries across the country have been instrumental in the revitalization of communities.

In its article, “Craft beer’s big impact on small towns and forgotten neighborhoods,” published, June 13, online housing news site Curbed captures the same information I spoke of in an in-depth article.

The article, by Patrick Sisson, weaves a compelling tale of how breweries have brought new life to forgotten towns and neighborhoods across the country. It even holds Jacksonville’s King Street Beer District out as an example of an abandoned commercial district that has seen an amazing turn around due to craft beer and craft beer breweries.

For my research, I dug up numerous stories of down-trodden areas that were brought back to life when a craft beer brewery moved in. Notably — and also mentioned in the Curbed article — is the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. Before Great Lakes Brewing Company set up shop in 1988, the neighborhood situated immediately west of the  Cuyahoga River, was a deteriorating district marred by abandoned buildings and plagued by drugs.

Today the Ohio City neighborhood is thriving with six breweries, shops, restaurants, night clubs and residential buildings. It is a prime example of the power or craft beer to bring people in to a neighborhood they would otherwise ignore. It illustrates how a brewery tap room can become a gathering spot that can serve as a catalyst for conversation about gentrification.

Today, in Jacksonville, we in the midst of a beer-fueled revitalization of multiple forgotten neighborhoods. The neighborhood known as Silvertown adjacent to Riverside and home of the city’s first craft brewery, Bold City Brewing Company, is seeing a rise in property values and an influx of new residents intent on restoring the historic homes and residing close to the bustling beer-centric nightlife hub of King Street.

Other local breweries such as Intuition Ale Works and Engine 15 Brewing Company have opted to utilize existing building stock in crumbling areas. Intuition took up residence in an old warehouse in the city’s Sports District nearly a year ago and has seen astounding success and growth because of the decision. Engine 15 bought a couple of warehouses in the crumbling LaVilla neighborhood. The addition of a small tap room at the brewery has seen an influx of suburbanites curious to visit the location.

In Springfield the addition of Hyperion Brewing Company on long neglected Main Street has already brought visitors from other parts of the city that had long eschewed the area. Soon, a new night club/restaurant, Crispy’s, will open providing another reason for outsiders to travel to the inner city. And, in late September or early October, Main & Six Brewing Company will join the other new-comers and older properties like Wafaa & Mike’s, Uptown Kitchen & Bar and  Tapas Old World.

With more breweries planned for the coming year, Jacksonville is poised to become the next great beer destination in Florida. One can only hope that they decide to settle in one of Jacksonville’s other abandoned districts to breathe life once again in to the Bold New City of the South.

Read the entire Curbed article here.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2017 in Beer, Beer News

 

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6 tips you must know to score GABF tickets

GABFmedia_02To many beer-lovers, the Great American Beer Festival is the end-all, be-all of beer festivals. It is the epitome of what a beer festival should be and beer nirvana all rolled into one massive event. It is also a very difficult ticket to purchase and, once a ticket is procured, an even more difficult event to navigate.

With just  five months to the 2017 festival, this year’s event takes place October 5-7, will need a plan for attending this event. Tickets go on sale to the general public August 2 at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time through Ticketmaster.

Last year, tickets to the GABF 2016 sold out in just one hour and seven minutes. That means you have to put some serious effort into getting your entry media. Fortunately, there are several ways you can give yourself an advantage over the unwashed masses.

  1. Mark your calendar and take time off.
    Since tickets go on sale on a Wednesday morning, if you work regular hours, you might want to take the morning off. You’ll know by 10:00 a.m. if you have tickets or not, so if you want to work the afternoon, just take a half day. Or, if you want to celebrate (or, heaven forbid, commiserate), take the whole day off and have a few beers in the afternoon.
  2. Check your account.
    A few days prior to the sale date, log in to Ticketmaster and make sure all of your information is up-to-date. Keep in mind, that if you do get through and get a chance to purchase tickets, you will only have a few minutes to complete your transaction. Nothing is more depressing than getting through and finding out that the credit card you have on file is expired.
  3. Get membership benefits.
    Consider joining the American Homebrewers Association. Members of the AHA can purchase GABF tickets a day before tickets go on sale to the general public. This is a huge advantage and practically assures you to score tickets. And, with membership to the AHA costing as little as $38 a year, it is a good investment. Not to mention you will get a whole host of benefits including six issues of Zymurgy, the Association’s magazine, discounts and, of course, early access to GABF tickets.
  4. Log in early.
    The interweb is going to be packed on the day of GABF ticket sales and this often means lag. By connecting early you increase your chance of getting through and avoiding long lag times that could cause your browser to crash. Plan on being online at least 45 minutes or more ahead of sale time.
  5. Enlist your friends.
    The Beatles famously said that they, “Get by with a little help from my friends.” Getting tickets for GABF is just the situation you want to put this phrase to work. Since each person that gets through can purchase up to four tickets, get your friends to help with the chase. If you have four friends that want to go, get all of them on their computers trying like mad. If just one of your cabal gets through and succeeds in acquiring tickets, your mission is accomplished.


    Pro Tip: Be sure all of your friends have Ticketmaster accounts and make sure they log in to check their status a few days prior to the sale date.

  6. Refresh as if you life depended on it.If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This is particularly true in this instance. You are battling thousands of other hopeful attendees for the few coveted GABF tickets that exist. If you get an error, just keep refreshing. With luck, you will hit refresh at the precise moment an Internet connection opens and your GABF dreams will come true.

If, after doing all of the above, you still do not manage to grab tickets, there are secondary markets. Sure, you’ll pay more for the tickets, but if you really want to go, that may be your only outlet. Just stay away from Craigslist and any other unverified ticket agency. You do not want to be the guy that shows up at the door with a counterfeit ticket and be denied admission.

Watch for more articles on how to get the most out of your GABF experience.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2017 in Beer, Beer Festival, Travel

 

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Beer It Forward this American Craft Beer Week

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Credit: Brewers Association

Monday, May 15 marks the beginning of American Craft Beer Week 2017. The week celebrates the diversity of the American craft beer scene and strives to educate the uninitiated to the many joys of craft beer. In addition, this year the Brewers Association
— the trade organization dedicated to supporting craft beer brewers — have launched a #BeerItForward campaign.

Simply put, Beer It Forward is a way to do something extra with beer. Its a means to make someone’s day, say thank you for a job well done or just an anonymous gesture that shares the craft beer love with someone else. Beering It Forward could be something as simple as buying a pint for a stranger while at a taproom, bringing a six-pack of special brews to a friend or including extra beer in a trade.  Anything that “pays it forward.”

When someone Beers It Forward to you, document their generosity on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and tag it with #BeerItForward.

Get more information about the concept in the infographic produced by the Brewers Association below.

ACBW17_Beer_It_Forward_Infographic1

Credit: Brewers Association

 
 

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Reaction to the Wicked Weed sale to Anhueser-Busch

PubOutsideThe Internet blew up yesterday on the news of Asheville, NC brewery Wicked Weed’s sale to brewing behemoth Anhueser-Busch. The reactions ran the gamut from utter outrage to disbelief to acceptance. Put simply, it was polarizing news that caused Twitter and other social media outlets to virtually explode with opinions on the matter.

Dumping beers from breweries acquired by A-B was a common theme among craft beer bars, package stores and restaurants. Brew Studs, a Twitter account linked to a popular beer blog of the same name tweeted:

Texas sour and funky beer brewer Jester King regularly collaborated with Wicked Weed and even carried Wicked Weed beers in their taproom. But, with the news that broke yesterday, that all changed.

“This has been a difficult day for us. The news that our great friend Wicked Weed Brewing was acquired by AB In-Bev came as quite a shock,” wrote Jester King founder Jefferey Stuffings on his brewery’s website. “One of our core principles is that we do not sell beer from AB In-Bev or its affiliates…”

“Because of this core principle,” Stuffings continued. “It pains us to say that we won’t be carrying Wicked Weed anymore at Jester King. We think Wicked Weed beer is some of the best in the world. Their talent, techniques, and patience produces some of the most beautiful beer we’ve ever tasted. That, combined with their great friendship, is what makes this decision so tough for us. But like we said, our core values must be paramount at the end of the day.”

Denver, Colo. brewery Black Project also pulled out of a collaboration they were working on with WIcked Weed.

“…We will not be able to lend our name to the unfinished collaboration beer currently aging in Asheville, NC.” Black Project owners James and Sarah Howat said on their website. “Additionally, the beer we brewed with Wicked Weed here at Black Project will be blended with other existing aged beer we have on hand to make something totally different which we will not consider a Wicked Weed collaboration.”

Breweries are also pulling out of the Wicked Weed Funkatorium Invitational, a music and beer festival that benefits an Asheville charity that identifies needs in the community and works to resolve them. Both Jester King and Black Project along with Grimm Artisnal, Jackie O’s, Haw River Farmhouse, OEC, Trillium and Wooden Robot have announced they will not participate as planned.

But the shunning from fellow breweries and beer lovers are not the only consequences Wicked Weed has suffered. The North Carolina Brewer’s Guild stripped the brewery of its voting rights and relegated Wicked Weed to only having the ability to be an affiliate member of the guild.

What are your thoughts on the sale? Is it a business move or is it a sell out?

 

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2017 in Beer, Brewery Acquisitions

 

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Cigar City 2017 release dates set

CigarCityBrewingFor many Florida craft beer fans, the brewery that epitomizes great Florida beer is Cigar City Brewing Company. Based in Tampa, the brewery was founded by Joey Redner in 2009 with his flagship brew, Jai Alai IPA. The beer was a hit with beer lovers both locally and throughout the Sunshine state and Redner quickly grew his business.

Today Cigar City is still known for its highly-rated flagship brew, but it is also known for its many specialty releases. Beers like the legendary Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout and Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout cause quite a stir in the craft beer community. So much so that Hunahpu’s has its own release day festival that features more than 100 top-tier breweries bringing their best beers for fans to enjoy. This year, Hunahpu’s Day falls on March 11. Tickets are still available and can only be purchased online at here.

For the rest of Cigar City’s release dates see the calendar below.

January

Nitro Series: El Coco Coconut Flan Ale

Special Release: White Oak Jai Alai

February

Nitro Series: El Coco Coconut Flan Ale

Special Release: White Oak Jai Alai

March

Nitro Series: Hornswoggled Red Ale

Special Release: Marshal Zhukov’s Penultimate Push

April

Nitro Series: Hornswoggled Red Ale

Special Release: Guayabera Citra Pale Ale

May

Nitro Series: Vanilla Maduro Brown Ale

Special Release: Vanilla Maduro Brown Ale

June

Nitro Series: Vanilla Maduro Brown Ale

Special Release: White Oak Jai Alai,

July

Nitro Series: Horchata Tropical Ale

Special Release: White Oak Jai Alai

August

Nitro Series: Horchata Tropical Ale

Special Release: Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout

September

Nitro Series: Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Special Release: Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale

October

Nitro Series: Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Special Release: Guayabera Citra Pale Ale

November

Nitro Series: Cafe Con Leche Sweet Stout

Special Release: Vanilla Maduro Brown Ale

December

Nitro Series: Cafe Con Leche Sweet Stout

Special Release: Cafe Con Leche Sweet Stout

Visit Cigar City Brewing’s website (www.cigarcitybrewing.com) for more beer information and to find the CCB beer closest to you.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2017 in Beer, Beer Releases

 

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New survey looks at craft beer drinker habits, attitudes

craftNearly one third of all craft beer drinkers are female and more than two thirds drink less than 10 beers in a two-week period are some of the findings in a new survey released by GutCheck, a Denver, Colo.-based agile market research firm.

Criteria for the survey included both make and female beer drinkers over 21 years of age. Respondents had to have more than $30,000 a year in earnings and must drink both craft and domestic beers. Finally, the respondent must be the primary purchaser of beer in the family or share that responsibility and must have purchased beer within the two weeks prior to taking the survey.

Not surprisingly, the survey found that craft beer drinkers prized variety in their beers with about half of all respondents revealing that they had consumed craft, domestic and imported beers during the review period. But, no single brand ran away with the votes. And, since variety is so valued, no single style of beer significantly dominated the standings. Of the styles surveyed, lager was consumed by 51% of survey-takers with pale ale coming in with 41%, wheat beer came in third with 37%.

Purchasing decisions were most often driven by taste for respondents with grocery stores listed as the top place to buy beer 63% of the time. Word of mouth was also a high scoring category when drinkers were asked how they chose a new beer to try. Liquor stores came in a close second with 62% saying that is where they purchased their beer. Bars and restaurants came in third with 55%.

An overwhelming 80% of craft beer drinkers think of themselves as supporters of local businesses, one third of them believe craft brands acquired by corporate brands are sell-outs. Of those who think brewers that sell to big beer are sell-outs, 26% say they would avoid buying these brands.

Craft brands with the highest awareness among consumers are Sam Adams, Yuengling and Sierra Nevada. Notably, the brand with the highest recognition is not a true craft beer. Blue Moon garnered an 81% for recognition even though it is not technically a craft brand.

Males were the highest number of survey-takers with 35 to 39 grabbing the highest-responding age group. The southern United States responded most often to the survey with the Midwest coming in close second.  Beer consumption within the two weeks prior to taking the survey was required of all counted respondents, but the survey revealed that spirits were consumed by 71% and wine sipped by 60%. Only 37% of respondents drank hard cider.

 

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2016 in Beer, Beer News

 

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5 courses, 5 beers at Black Sheep dinner

black-sheep-roof-1-988x768Perhaps the best physical feature of Riverside’s Black Sheep restaurant is its roof-top bar/dining area. Add the inventive flavors of Chef Waylon Rivers’ food and a cold craft beer and you have all the ingredients for a magical evening.

To make just such an evening come true for diners and imbibers, the restaurant has scheduled a roof-top, walk-around tasting dinner paired with beers from the award-winning Aardwolf Brewing Company of San Marco

This is a casual event so come anytime between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., Sunday, August 28. But, be sure you will have enough time to enjoy five different courses prepared by Chef Waylon Rivers all paired with beers from Aardwolf Brewery.  Cost is $60 plus tax and gratuity.  Please call (904) 380-3091 to make reservations.

Tasting menu and pairings are listed below:

STATION 1
RUBY SIPPER CURED SNAPPER
purslane, peach gel, basil, thai chili
BEER: HIBISCUS-PEACH INFUSED BELGIAN PALE ALE

STATION 2
KUMAMOTO OYSTER
watermelon mignonette, micro coriander
BEER: GOSE

STATION 3
GAMJATANG
smoked pork shoulder, gnocchi, shiso, benne
BEER: FARMHOUSE ALE

STATION 4
RAVIOLI
short rib, truffles, radish, chard
BEER: HOPPODITY #3 IPA

STATION 5
MINI ICE CREAM SANDWICHES
profiteroles, coffee and cocoa nib ice cream, spiced mexican chocolate
BEER: EL MARIACHI

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2016 in Beer Dinner

 

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