With news that a national craft brewing organization chose Jacksonville for it’s next annual convention, we’ve compiled this list of five little known facts about the region’s burgeoning craft beer scene.
1. Jacksonville’s Intuition Ale Works was the first craft brewery in the state to can its beer
“They beat out Tampa Brewing Company by a few days and Cigar City by a few weeks,” said Gerard Walen, author of Florida Breweries and Florida beer blogger.
This means Intuition was also the first craft brewery in Florida to use the recycled plastic packaging that is becoming popular with craft brewers across the country.
2. Jacksonville master brewers produce 15,000 barrels of beer per year
That’s according to an estimate from city tourism agency Visit Jacksonville, which is currently working with local breweries to launch a self-guided “Jax Ale Trail” tour to help promote craft beer in the city.
Each barrel is equal to 31 gallons, which means Jacksonville’s craft breweries put out about 465,000 gallons of beer per year. That’s enough beer to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool and still have 5,000 gallons to spare.
3. Jacksonville’s Bold City Brewery will pour your first flight for free
That’s right — Jacksonville’s Bold City Brewery will let you sample anything they have on tap totally on the house if it is your first time there. For the uninitiated, a flight is a selection of sample pours, usually between 3 and 5 ounces and presented in order of increasing flavor.
Gerard Walen says the bold move comes from Bold City’s philosophy that the taproom should be both a sales generator and a marketing tool, and that it’s the only brewery in the state he knows of offering a free flight.
4. First Coast and Gainesville craft breweries have taken home some big awards recently
Jacksonville Beach’s Engine 15 Brewing Co. was first runner-up for best beer in this year’s Best Florida Beer Championships. Engine 15 also took home the prize for best brewpub and four medals, including gold for their “Rye of the Tiger” hybrid beer.
Jacksonville’s Aardwolf Brewing Company also won gold at this year’s BFBC in the Black India Pale Ale category for their “Stormageddon, Dark Lord of Hops.”
On the international stage, Gainesville’s Swamp Head Brewery took gold at the 2014 World Beer Cup in the smoked beer category with their “Smoke Signal” smoked porter.
5. St. Augustine’s A1A Ale Works was once a horrific crime scene… in the movies
A1A Ale Works, located in an historic 1880 St. Augustine building, used to be home to Potter’s Wax Museum, where most of Vincent Price’s original 1953 3D horror film House of Wax was filmed.
According to Gerard Walen’s write-up of A1A in Florida Breweries, the building also sits on top of an old cemetery. This creepy history has made the brewery a favorite last stop on the city’s many ghost tours and haunted pub crawls.
You can follow Patrick Donges on Twitter at @patrickhdonges.