You know…initially, this post was going to be all things Brewfest – however, in the small-business world, things change rather quickly. I've wanted to write the following line for a long time now – and after a great heart-to-heart discussion with my better half (Saralyn – who has been and continues to be my rock and my biggest supporter in all of this) on our future last night, I finally can:
GrassLands Brewing Company will launch in Tallahassee, FL.
Yeah! That makes me so excited to say it out loud and to formally inform you, my dear readers, that GrassLands will become a reality in Tallahassee, FL.
Now, I know some many of you aren't really all that surprised by this – but for a while now, GLB’s ultimate location has really been up for grabs. That's also not to say that things won't or can't change in the future (as they sometimes always do), but our plan going forward is Tallahassee! Florida is experiencing its first real craft beer boom (it’s been written, so it must be true), and in general, it’s a great state to launch a brewery. Even with its restrictions and three-tiered system, Florida is definitely on the up and up. From everything I've seen, there isn't really a sense of competition among breweries – but more of a sense of family…which if you've read anything I've written in the past month or so, that’s right up our alley. And speaking of Tallahassee…
It’s funny – moving away from Jacksonville close to seven years ago, I initially had my reservations about moving inland (away from surf) to the state’s capital. My wife and I wanted to pursue our post-graduate degrees at Florida State and there were opportunities for us in Tallahassee that Jacksonville just couldn't match. That’s not to say we don’t love the Jacksonville & St. Augustine areas – we absolutely still do…but the state capital (which acts and feels like a small town, even with over 200,000 residents) has grown on both of us. We love the layout, the landscape, the town’s artistic personality, its youth, diversity and the people. We've made a bunch of friends here and a ton of really great connections.
Not to turn this into a FL-Panhandle love-fest or anything, but Tallahassee has definitely grown during our time here as well. Through my (current) job I’m a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and there has been a bit of a buzz going on around town with all it has planned over the course of the next 3-5 years. Tallahassee wants to become the next Austin, TX of the southeast US. Will it? We’ll see. With its current investments, there’s certainly the possibility it could be; and that’s an exciting thought.
With regard to the craft beer scene, Tallahassee has enjoyed steady growth over the past five years. By my last count, there are three distribution companies in town, numerous bars and restaurants that serve craft beer, three professional brewing entities (one brewpub, one production brewery, and one brew-on-premise) and a few others in planning - including yours truly. We've got two healthy and active homebrewing clubs (NFBL and BoA) with several beer-related events provided to the general population throughout the year – culminating with the biggie: Brewfest Tallahassee.
All things considered, Tallahassee has potential. I've certainly written it before, but it feels good to think that with the craft beer scene going “BOOM!” in FL, GrassLands will soon be a part of it – representing Tallahassee all the way. :) Saralyn and I love it here and we’re extremely excited to make Tallahassee GrassLands’ official hometown!
So yeah…how do we proceed from here after that announcement?
We pour four GrassLands ales at 4 pm this Saturday for Brewfest Tallahassee (the Gold Medal-winning Secale Cereale (Rye) Saison, Saralyn's DC Honey Blonde, Quint’s Hard Cider, and LeeRoy the Red Imperial Amber experimental batch #3)! We’re psyched to be doing this for the 2nd year in a row and we’re looking forward to having a great time with everyone who attends! Stop by the booth! Get stamped!!
Sunday the 4th we’ll brew the 2012 Black Rose Immortal Imperial Stout! Interested in hanging out while we brew? You’re more than welcome to! Should be fun!
Also - get ready for this: Sunday, November the 18th at 3 pm will mark the 2nd Official Tasting Shindig where we’ll be serving LeeRoy the Red Imperial Amber experimental batch #2 and a dry-hopped First Light Blonde! Mark your calendars and expect an invite, my local GrassHoppers!
Last but not least, I would like to say this: It’s one thing to want to start a brewery, but it’s certainly quite another to have the confidence in its future success. I feel confident in GrassLands because of you. In the end, it’ll be because of you that this thing works out. I’m just excited to be a part of it.
So have an awesome weekend, dear readers; I know we will!