Sarasota and Bradenton are not names one would particularly associate with American microbreweries. According to the United States Brewers Association, residents of Vermont, Oregon and Montana are fortunate in the sense that they enjoy the highest concentration of microbreweries per capita.
Florida is not commonly known as a microbrew state, although it should. This is, after all, the Sunshine State, and the year-round warm climate is ideal for the enjoyment of craft beers. Thankfully for beer lovers in Southwest Florida, a few enterprising brewers have come to realize the sheer potential of the region. As previously reported here, craft beer festivals have proven that Floridians are ready to enjoy locally-produced microbrews.
Big Top Brewing Co.
The CEO of Big Top Brewing is a former real estate professional who turned to craft brewing. He is also a Sarasota native, which is the reason Big Top Brewing has decided to wait until August 24th to unveil its brewery at 6111 Porter Way. That date coincides with the Sarasota Beer Festival. Big Top will kick off with three offerings: Suncoast Pale Ale, Trapeze Monk and Circus City IPA. This last beer pays homage to Sarasota’s rich association with the circus; this is, after all, the city that American circus magnate John Ringling fell in love with.
JDub’s Brewing Company
This craft beer purveyor convinced Head Brewer Mike McCarthy to move to Sarasota from the trendy Washington, D.C. area. Mr. McCarthy plans to use ingredients grown in the fertile Florida land for JDub’s microbrews, and he plans to pay attention to the local cuisine as a means of inspiration. This brewery will feature its own taproom and will be located at 1215 Mango Avenue.
Bradenton beer lovers are anxiously waiting for the opening of Motorworks Brewing, which hopes to begin mixing ingredients for a light lager, an India Pale Ale (IPA), a stout , and a red ale in September. Some time in the fall, Motorworks Brewing will have a tap room and wine bar located at 1014 9th Street West.
Little Giant Brewery
301 7th Street East is the new proposed location for Little Giant Brewery, a craft beer operation that began in a garage in Anna Maria Island. Although there is no set date for Little Giant’s opening, brewer Michael Wagner is hoping that the growing interest in the scene will speed things up.
Darwin’s on 4th
The trendy Rosemary District of Sarasota is home to this restaurant and brewery combination, which is now planning to expand north with a location in Bradenton. This restaurant has only been open for less than two years, but it has already enjoyed enough success to consider adding new locations. At this time, Darwin’s on 4th is still studying the Bradenton market.