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The Aardwolf Is Coming

Metro Jacksonville gets the opportunity to host a special Q&A session with Michael Payne and Preben Olsen of the Aardwolf Brewing Company. Coming soon to San Marco's historic South Jacksonville Utilities Building, Aardwolf Brewing Company will be the latest craft brewery to open in Jacksonville's urban core.

Published April 13, 2012 in Development      25 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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The following responses are principally by Michael Payne and Preben Olsen, the two partners in the recently initiated Aardwolf Brewing Co., LLC venture to be located at 1461 Hendricks Avenue in San Marco.  Both individuals are Jacksonville natives and graduates of Episcopal High School.  Michael is well known locally for his craft beer brewing prowess.   Preben is a recognized expert in the retail side of beer sales as well as his unorthodox beer related guerilla marketing tactics (to date for others) most evident during football tailgating events.




1. Can you provide a brief description of Aardwolf Brewing Company's plans for the planned Hendricks Avenue location?

Preben: Like most craft breweries nationally, Aardwolf’s facility will consist of two components – the brewery itself where various styles of beer will be commercially produced in volume for distribution around the City – and a taproom allowing for on-site consumption.  The taproom will operate as a bar and is being sized sufficiently to allow for special events, meetings, parties, etc.  Wine will also be available for those not desiring to partake in the “craft beer experience”.


2. Why did you select San Marco for this project?

Michael: The locale in general exhibits a lot of qualities that appeal to us and we can really see the potential for our brewery to become part of the San Marco neighborhood.  The old “City of South Jacksonville” Utility building attracts us as well, with its history and atmosphere.  As an original “Florida Ice House” from the 1920’s – it just stands out as both an ideal and unique setting for the development of a craft beer brewery.  My initial conversations with the building owners regarding its potential use as a brew-pub date back almost three years.


3. When do you anticipate brewing operations starting at the Hendricks Avenue site?

Michael: If things fall into place, sometime in late 2012.  There is a substantial amount of work to be done within the building and since the time it takes to get a Federal brewing permit can vary drastically based on the number of applications in the queue nationally, it is really too early to try to nail down an actual opening date.  The tap room however, will precede brewing operations and should ideally be open by mid-fall.  At first we will serve craft beers produced by others.


4. Do you plan to bottle and distribute your products?

Michael: Initially, we will be selling draft beer by the keg through a distributer to commercial accounts principally in the Jacksonville area.  After we are up and operational, we plan to eventually bottle beer.  As we grow, distribution could become regional.


5. How will Aardwolf differentiate itself from a market with established players such as Bold City, Gordon Biersch, Intuition, Mile Marker, Green Room, River City Brewing, Engine 15, BJ's Brewhouse, and Brewer's Pizza, etc?

Michael: Jacksonville (like the national beer scene) has experienced a boom in craft breweries in the last few years, but we are really only scratching the surface locally when compared to well established markets in other parts of the country. At Aardwolf, we want to push the envelope in terms of beer styles and techniques that have yet to be seen in northeast Florida, while also firmly placing the quality of our beer and ingredients as our first priority.  We are too far from actually brewing to reveal any more than that, but I like to think that when it comes to differentiating ourselves, the beer will eventually speak for itself.  Moreover, the brewery’s 2,500 sf taproom, located in the center of a 1920’s brick ice house, will in itself be a unique addition to the Jacksonville craft brew scene.

Next Page:  How Difficult Has This Process Been?  Plus The Vision For The Area



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25 Comments

BridgeTroll

April 13, 2012, 07:21:35 AM
I think this is the same building Intuition was looking at before they settled on their current location.  Welcome Aardwolf!

ben says

April 13, 2012, 07:27:43 AM
Welcome, and good choice of locations! Figured that building would sit there forever otherwise, and it's perfect for a brewery. As long as these new breweries are popping up in the core, I'm content. With the new grocery store going right around the corner, and the Panera across the street, finally we'll see some action in the area that isn't restricted to high rises and empty apartment buildings. This could help the whole area.

Gonzo

April 13, 2012, 08:04:00 AM
Having had several conversations with Michael myself, and having tasted several of his brews, I must say that he will be a welcome addition to the growing Jacksonville beer scene. If Jacksonville keeps growing this scene, we will soon be able to rival other well-known beer production cities like Asheville, NC, which has been voted Beer City USA for the past three years by RateBeer.com.

Recently released estimates from the Brewers Association state that there are 1,940 breweries and brew pubs operating in the United States by the end of 2011. This represented a nearly 9% increase over 2010. The craft beer industry also saw a 13% increase in sales in 2011 over 2010. At the same time sales of the major brands continued their long decline.

With the addition of Aardwolf, and the eminent licensing of Pinglehead Brewing (Brewer's Pizza) for distribution, we will soon have five local breweries. If you count St. Augustine as local, we will have six by including Mile Marker Brewery.  Throw in brew pubs like Engine 15, brewery restaurants like Ragtime, Seven Bridges, A1A Ale Works, Karibrew, and River City Brewing and you bring the number up to 12. Ashevile only has nine breries now and will have eleven when Sierra Nevada and New Belgium begin operations in a few years.

What does this mean for Jacksonville? It means that, like many other cities that are following the craft beer trends, we are becoming a more mature city and that craft beer cold put us on the map. There are numerous links between craft beer brewers and art, philanthropy, and city pride. Local breweries host dozens of events like the recent Truckies at Bold City, donate to many charitites like the St. John's Riverkeeper, and act as good-will ambassadors to visitors and locals alike.

Craft beer is not only good beer, it is good for our city's image. It can only serve to show the country that we are indeed a city on the move. Support all our local breweries and keep this terrific trend going.


TPC

April 13, 2012, 08:06:04 AM
This is awesome, I can't wait for them to start brewing some beer.

ben says

April 13, 2012, 08:20:56 AM
Having had several conversations with Michael myself, and having tasted several of his brews, I must say that he will be a welcome addition to the growing Jacksonville beer scene. If Jacksonville keeps growing this scene, we will soon be able to rival other well-known beer production cities like Asheville, NC, which has been voted Beer City USA for the past three years by RateBeer.com.

Recently released estimates from the Brewers Association state that there are 1,940 breweries and brew pubs operating in the United States by the end of 2011. This represented a nearly 9% increase over 2010. The craft beer industry also saw a 13% increase in sales in 2011 over 2010. At the same time sales of the major brands continued their long decline.

With the addition of Aardwolf, and the eminent licensing of Pinglehead Brewing (Brewer's Pizza) for distribution, we will soon have five local breweries. If you count St. Augustine as local, we will have six by including Mile Marker Brewery.  Throw in brew pubs like Engine 15, brewery restaurants like Ragtime, Seven Bridges, A1A Ale Works, Karibrew, and River City Brewing and you bring the number up to 12. Ashevile only has nine breries now and will have eleven when Sierra Nevada and New Belgium begin operations in a few years.

What does this mean for Jacksonville? It means that, like many other cities that are following the craft beer trends, we are becoming a more mature city and that craft beer cold put us on the map. There are numerous links between craft beer brewers and art, philanthropy, and city pride. Local breweries host dozens of events like the recent Truckies at Bold City, donate to many charitites like the St. John's Riverkeeper, and act as good-will ambassadors to visitors and locals alike.

Craft beer is not only good beer, it is good for our city's image. It can only serve to show the country that we are indeed a city on the move. Support all our local breweries and keep this terrific trend going.

Great post, couldn't agree more.

Non-RedNeck Westsider

April 13, 2012, 08:30:22 AM
"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." ~ Benjamin Franklin

“In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

fieldafm

April 13, 2012, 08:42:29 AM
Quote
donate to many charitites like the St. John's Riverkeeper

Susan and Ben both rock!!!  I cannot emphasize that enough!!!!!!!!!!!!

To me, they are the epitome of what kind of people the city should be attracting... brave entrepreneurs who deeply care about their community.

Intuition Ale Works

April 13, 2012, 09:09:25 AM

Very excited about Aardwolf getting up and running.
Michael is a great brewer and Preben knows beer.

Looking forward to a brewery in San Marco and future collaborations.
Jacksonville needs a craft brewery in every neighborhood as we wage war against the foreign owned light lager producers...

Captain Zissou

April 13, 2012, 09:20:41 AM
With the addition of Aardwolf, and the eminent licensing of Pinglehead Brewing (Brewer's Pizza) for distribution, we will soon have five local breweries. If you count St. Augustine as local, we will have six by including Mile Marker Brewery.  Throw in brew pubs like Engine 15, brewery restaurants like Ragtime, Seven Bridges, A1A Ale Works, Karibrew, and River City Brewing and you bring the number up to 12. Ashevile only has nine breries now and will have eleven when Sierra Nevada and New Belgium begin operations in a few years.


Did you really just equate Ragtime and Seven Bridges to Sierra Nevada and New Belgium??  HAHAHAHAHAha

While the growth of the Jacksonville beer scene is great news, we are still years behind Asheville.  That said, it shows just how much room there is within the local and regional market for growth.  I know of another brewery that is looking to open within the MSA in the next couple years.  I think our market has room to support at least one more brewery.  As the current breweries grow and mature, more of their revenue will come from the regional and potentially national market, which will make the battle for restaurant tap space less of an issue. I am happy to be a part of the local beer movement and I will do my part to ensure its future success.

BTW-  I had some of Michael's brews last week at the Jacksonville Beer Week event at Grassroots and they are delicious!!! 

Tacachale

April 13, 2012, 09:37:19 AM
This is great stuff. Michael's a local boy and a Episcopal and UNF graduate. He's one of the most talented brewers in town, and we have some fantastic ones. I've said it before, but I think this could be the next Cigar City.

ben says

April 13, 2012, 09:38:00 AM

Very excited about Aardwolf getting up and running.
Michael is a great brewer and Preben knows beer.

Looking forward to a brewery in San Marco and future collaborations.
Jacksonville needs a craft brewery in every neighborhood as we wage war against the foreign owned light lager producers...

What ever happened to that beer documentary SunRay was showing for one day only? They should really bring it back...really want to see it, as it touches on what you mentioned.

Captain Zissou

April 13, 2012, 09:44:13 AM

Very excited about Aardwolf getting up and running.
Michael is a great brewer and Preben knows beer.

Looking forward to a brewery in San Marco and future collaborations.
Jacksonville needs a craft brewery in every neighborhood as we wage war against the foreign owned light lager producers...

What ever happened to that beer documentary SunRay was showing for one day only? They should really bring it back...really want to see it, as it touches on what you mentioned.

That was part of Jacksonville Beer Week.  The movie is called Beer Wars and it is on Netflix and Hulu I believe.  You can watch it anytime, but it won't come with commentary from master brewer Ben.  I couldn't make it to the showing at Sun Ray, so some friends and I had a beer tasting of Florida beers and watched it at my house.

Intuition- People's Pale and I-10
Florida Brewery- Swamp Ape
Cigar City- Jai Alai and Guava ______
Bold City-Mad Manatee

I also threw in some hopsecutioner for good measure. Only thing missing was some Swamp Head

ben says

April 13, 2012, 09:46:17 AM
^ Thanks for the info

hightowerlover

April 13, 2012, 10:17:49 AM
Nice to see another historic building being brought back to life.

PeeJayEss

April 13, 2012, 11:51:19 AM
Can't wait to try Aardwolf! Good luck guys.

Cigar City Guava Grove Saison

Captain Zissou

April 13, 2012, 12:29:52 PM
Can't wait to try Aardwolf! Good luck guys.

Cigar City Guava Grove Saison

Thanks PeeJ.  It was quite a tasting indeed.

Intuition is going to be at the Hogtown Beer Fest tomorrow at the Kanapahah Gardens in Gainesville.  It's going to be awesome!  http://www.hogtownbeerfest.com/beerfest/

Aardwolf Brewery

April 13, 2012, 07:47:29 PM
Thanks for all the support! It is the love of fresh, quality beer that has driven Michael and myself to the creation of Aardwolf. Our hope is that Jacksonville will eventually become known as the 'Beer Mecca of the South.' This wouldn't be possible without the overabundance of support and enthusiasm from the community. We look forward to sharing a pint with you in the not so distant future. Cheers!!!

acme54321

July 06, 2012, 09:13:47 AM
So any news on this front? 

I haven't noticed much activity at the building but a small sign up in the window and some construction materials inside.  Does anyone know the scoop?  What's the ETA?

tufsu1

July 06, 2012, 09:23:40 AM
runmor I heard is a tap room will open first (maybe later this year) serving other microbrews.....this will be followed 12-18 months later by the actual brewery.

Tacachale

December 19, 2012, 02:51:00 PM
Aardwolf's brewing equipment has arrived. The brewery part of the brewery is underway.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=307774152656759&set=a.264410240326484.45104.219925481441627&type=1&theater

coredumped

March 21, 2013, 09:51:50 PM
Looks like they'll be opening tomorrow!



https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=344261295674711&set=a.225271054240403.38314.219925481441627&type=1

(Note, flyer address is wrong, it should be 1461 Hendricks)

fieldafm

March 22, 2013, 08:54:37 AM
Tonight, we'll have Corner Taco and Gourmet Aviator at Aardwolf and tomorrow night we'll have The Happy Grilled Cheese food truck.

It should be a great grand opening weekend.  The guys at the wolf are really cool and the space is absolutely gorgeous!

Kinda makes you wonder what kind of organic business growth would occur along Edgewood/Murray Hill and Monroe/Downtown if you did some context sensitive streetscape improvements?

Shwaz

March 22, 2013, 11:00:15 AM
runmor I heard is a tap room will open first (maybe later this year) serving other microbrews.....this will be followed 12-18 months later by the actual brewery.

Does anyone know if they'll be serving their own brews tonight?

fieldafm

March 22, 2013, 11:03:12 AM
I think the Aardwolf/Green Room collaboration is being served and possibly the Aardwolf/Pinglehead collaboration.

Otherwise, it will be guest taps this weekend (and a decent selection from what I understand).  I think there are still a few weeks to go until they get all of the proper brewing permits to begin on site production. 

Shwaz

March 22, 2013, 01:31:42 PM
I think the Aardwolf/Green Room collaboration is being served and possibly the Aardwolf/Pinglehead collaboration.

Otherwise, it will be guest taps this weekend (and a decent selection from what I understand).  I think there are still a few weeks to go until they get all of the proper brewing permits to begin on site production. 

Right on! Looking forward to trying a few this evening  :)
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