A look into Northeast Florida's popular craft brewing industry.
1500 Beach Blvd #217
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
Jacksonville was not always as populated with craft breweries as it is today. When Engine 15 and Bold City were starting up, there was virtually no other craft brewery in town. The only options were corporate brewpubs, and they felt like they were lacking something. The beer wasn’t bad, it just didn’t have a “local” aspect to it. Engine 15’s co-founder, Luciano Scremin said that starting out wasn’t easy:
“A lot of people in Jacksonville have totally embraced the craft beer and local beer movement but it wasn’t always so. The first week we were open I waited on a customer that was just shocked that a beer at our place cost $4.50. I tried to explain it was a handcrafted high quality product, rather than a mass marketed beer made with the bottom line as the target. She just looked at me and laughed and told me I wouldn’t be in business in 3 months. That was like 4 years ago… The economy was in the toilet back in 2009 when we were looking to open, no one was loaning money or investing in new businesses. We used our own money to start up and expand our business. It was tough.”
Scremin never thought he would be where he is today. He had been home brewing for years before starting up Engine 15. His first aspiration was to become a pilot, which is what he does now on top of running the brewery. He said that, at Engine 15, they try to listen to the customers and give them what they want to drink, rather than just brewing what they like to brew. They even have their own fantastic version of a rotating tap. Using a 1bbl steam fired system, they can brew small and unique batches of beer every week. They call it “Tap 42” and it is served every Thursday at their Jacksonville Beach location.
They are planning on expanding to the downtown area, and will turn the Jacksonville Beach location into a “test kitchen.” The larger facility will give them the chance to brew larger batches so they can provide their customers more of the beers that have been growing in popularity. Scremin says that they can’t wait to expand, as it would give the Jax Beach location a chance to brew even more unique and innovative beers. The possibilities are beyond exciting.
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