A New Industry Brews in Jacksonville

By: James Donlon and Bailie Staton

From experimenting in their bathtub to creating a multi-million dollar business,
Americans are turning their backs on the commercialized beer industry and upping
their taste buds for something a little more homebrewed.

Across the nation, breweries are popping up in strip malls, warehouses, and
elsewhere. The trend is taking towns by storm. People are flocking to Jacksonville to
take a trip on the city’s very own brewery bus tours. With over 20 brewery
locations, Jacksonville is becoming a hot destination for brewery tourists.

Now that the industry is growing across the country, craft beer is making a huge
wave in the Sunshine State.

“Florida is probably the number two beer market per capita in the country,” said David Morenus, the manager of the local brewery Engine 15. “I think it’s exploded so much in Jacksonville because there was such a demand for beer and the number of breweries was so low.”

What makes Breweries different from commercialized draft beer? Besides the extra
care that goes into making every pint unique, it allows people to taste the different
combinations of flavors in beer that they’ve probably never thought before. Some
examples include Mango Beer featured at The Green Room, a local Jacksonville
Beach brewery or Engine 15’s “Nut Sack,” a Double Brown Pale Ale.

With all these different flavors, local breweries have a chance to showcase their
talent at Jacksonville’s annual Bruval event hosted by Void Magazine.

“We’re basically bringing as many beers to the local area as possible,” said Tye
Wallace, President of Void Magazine. “There’s 20 plus breweries with over 60 plus
flavors, though we still have a lot of growing room.”

He explained Bruval was created in mind to harness the large Duval County pride for our local breweries. According to The Jacksonville Business Journal, the number of craft breweries in the area has grown from 1 to 21 over the past 10 years, with one third of those locations having been registered in 2017.

“The only city that I put us behind as far as quality of beer and the number of
breweries and places to visit would be Tampa, with 50-60 breweries,” said Morenus.
“But I say we could definitely become the number two beer tourist destination in the
state of Florida.”

Visit Jacksonville, a tourist organization, has designed a beer trail for tourists to
follow and try all the local spots. If you ever want to tingle your taste buds and
experience a trend that is sweeping the nation, take a trip over to a local Jacksonville
brewery and see what they’ve created.