Art Brews Business at J. Wakefield and Wynwood Brewing

Art Brews Business at J. Wakefield and Wynwood Brewing
  • David Rodriguez and Adrian Castro of Little Havana's Union Beer Store take us to the most iconic Wynwood breweries.

  • Wynwood Brewing and J. Wakefield Brewery show us how the vibe of Miami's Wynwood art permeates the craft beer neighboorhood.

On this episode of Beer Artisan, were exploring Miami’s famed art neighborhood, Wynwood, and the craft beer businesses that have popped up out of its art scene.

The Union Beer Store was started by husband and wife duo, David and Cici Rodriguez. The pair had been close to the beer scene for years and one year ago decided to strike out on their own and create Union, a beer store/bar with a fun, super laid-back vibe. With more than 300 different beers in their cooler, they offer locals and tourists a wide range of tastes to explore. Adrian, David’s right-hand man, helms the bar at Union, helping visitors choose the right brew. So it only made sense to have David and Adrian show us around the Wynwood neighborhood.

First up, J. Wakefield. John Wakefield got started brewing with a $50 Mr. Beer homebrew kit gifted to him by his wife. Slowly but surely, the hobby transformed into a lifestyle and brewing beers on his stove evolved into a jam-packed production facility producing a number of unique brews. John tells us how he combined his life as a beer geek with his life as a Star Wars geek to create his incredibly designed, Star Wars themed tap room which highlights the work of a number of local artists and adds to the incredible vibe you can only find in Wynwood.

Next, it’s on to Wynwood Brewing, Wynwood’s first brewery. Started by Luis G. Brignoni, Wynwood also incorporates local artists’ work into the design of the space. Luis invited local artist Lola Blue to design bottles for the brewery, further cementing the relationship between Wynwood art and its businesses. Wynwood has won a number of Great American Beer Festival medals and is aiming to churn out 12,000 barrels of beer this year thanks to help from the Craft Beer Alliance.

 

Brignoni made a deal with the CBA in which they would have a 24.5% stake in the company (the threshold for still being defined as "craft" by the Brewers Association) and in return, help grows the production and distribution of Wynwood Brewing brews. This has opened up their tanks, allowing Wynwood to be more creative with their in-house production.

If you’ve never been to Wynwood, you should give it a visit ASAP. Just listen to our Wynwood Guide, Robert William de los Rios from The RAW Project. But if you can’t, watch this episode of Foodable’s Beer Artisan for a journey through the art-driven neighborhood to learn more about its history and vibe.

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Smog City Shows Off LA's Creative Craft Brewing Scene

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On this episode of "Beer Artisan," we see how LA’s young breweries have fostered a tightly-knit community with brewers who are not afraid to push the envelope. Los Angeles' brew scene is fairly young with some of the city's veteran breweries only dating back to 2011. However, in that short span of time, LA has churned out some of the coolest, most diverse brews created from some of the coolest, most diverse brewers.

Smog City began brewing in October 2011 before they even had their own space, using Tustin Brewing’s brewpub to distribute their brews to restaurants and bars throughout Los Angeles County. This allowed head brewmaster Jonathan Porter and the team to establish a presence in the craft beer community.

“We started by renting a warehouse nearby and sort of brewing and selling, and delivering on the weekend and after work, and that paid off in dividends because by the time we opened the doors here we already had a reputation,” he said.

By 2013, Smog City had purchased its own full-scale brewing equipment, formalized plans for their new brewery and taproom in Torrance, and began brewing in their own brewery. Since then, Porter and Smog City have won three Great American Beer Festival medals for their Coffee Porter, Kumquat Saison, and Sabre-Toothed Squirrel brews.

Co-owner and Manager, Laurie Porter points out that Smog City brews are not dictated by their consumer base, but an embodiment of their characters.

“You’re really saying 'Okay, here’s us — put it in a bottle!' If you like it, then you respond to our brand. If you don’t like it, there’s another brand out there that you’re really gonna love. We’re not land grabbing everybody,” she said.

By doing so, Smog City plays to the craft beer mentality of "the rising tide floats all ships." 

Craft Beer Acquisitions: Sellouts or Success Stories?

Craft Beer Acquisitions: Sellouts or Success Stories?

The craft beer sector has shown a steady growth despite many small and independent breweries being acquired by beer giants.

According to the Brewers Association (BA), “in 2016, craft brewers produced 24.6 million barrels, and saw a 6 percent rise in volume on a comparable base and a 10 percent increase in retail dollar value...By adding 1.4 million barrels, craft brewer growth outpaced the 1.2 million barrels lost from the craft segment, based on purchases by large brewing companies. Microbreweries and brewpubs delivered 90 percent of the craft brewer growth.”

In an effort to continue nurturing that growth, the BA decided to create an Independent Craft Brewer Seal with the reasoning that the logo would serve as a tool for craft-beer enthusiasts to distinguish if their favorite beer was made by an independent brewer or not. In order to carry the stamp, a brewery has to meet the “craft brewer definition” determined by BA.

Craft Brewer Defined by Brewers Association

  • Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales)
  • Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.
  • A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation.

Foodable has been following the growth of craft beer in the U.S. since its inception and has reported on the origins of "Beervana," what the craft beer market expectations and challenges are, and has provided a behind the scenes look into some craft beer companies through its show Beer Artisan.

Most recently, though, the debate on what it truly means to be a craft brewer and consumer sentiments towards independent brewers who have been acquired by non-craft beer businesses have sparked Foodable’s curiosity.

Enter Foodable Labs, our sister data company which has helped us compare the overall sentiment scores for three beer brands (Four Peaks Brewing, Cigar City Brewery, and Lagunitas Brewing) before and after their acquisitions.

Each beer brand was acquired by a company with more resources with goals of amplifying the beer production as well as the reach of the craft beer’s brand.

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The Birth of Beervana and Craft Beer

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The beer industry has changed tremendously over the past 20 years.  Today you can find a local Craft Beer in almost every city across the country, creating a new generation of beer lovers.  

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The United States has gone from the home of the light lager to one of the most recognized beer manufacturers in the world.  If you have been following the progression of craft beer in the U.S.A, there’s one place you must explore: Portland, OR. Also known as Beervana. Arguably, the birthplace of the craft beer movement. 

In this pilot episode of Foodable Network’s new show, “Beer Artisan,” host Kerry Finsand, founder of Taplister, takes us on a journey filled with hops, perfect pours, and interviews with some of Portland’s best brewers, including Cascade Brewing and Widmer Brothers Brewing Company.

“Beer Artisan” is a show that covers all things 'craft beer' for the industry— from production quality and scalability to the best equipment and interesting ingredients. The show explores the movement that has transformed America from a country dominated by big-label beers, into one with more than 3,400 craft breweries. "Beer Artisan" serves to tell the story of this phenomenal culture shift, as well as introduce the passionate personalities that made it happen— and what they went through to get here.

Watch the full episode to get a behind-the-scenes look into what makes Portland the ultimate Beervana!

Smog City Shows Off Los Angeles' Creative Craft Brewing Scene

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Video produced by Denise Toledo

The beer scene in Los Angeles is fairly young. Some of LA's veteran breweries only date back to 2011. However, in that short span of time, LA has churned out some of the coolest, most diverse brews created from some of the coolest, most diverse brewers. On this episode of "Beer Artisan," we see how LA’s young breweries have fostered a tightly-knit community with brewers who are not afraid to push the envelope.

Frances Lopez is the executive director of the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild. Formally founded in 2013, the LABG is a federally recognized nonprofit organization that works to promote and protect local independently-owned craft breweries. In order to properly advocate for the community, Lopez has built strong relationships with breweries across LA such as Smog City.

Smog City began brewing in October 2011 using Tustin Brewing’s brewpub to distribute their brews to restaurants and bars throughout Los Angeles County. This allowed head brewmaster Jonathan Porter and the team to establish a presence in the craft beer community.

“We started by renting a warehouse nearby and sort of brewing and selling and delivering on the weekends, and after work, and that paid off in dividends, because by the time we opened the doors here. we already had a reputation,” he said.

By 2013, Smog City had purchased its own full-scale brewing equipment, formalized plans for their new brewery and taproom in Torrance, and began brewing in their own brewery. Since then, Porter and Smog City have won three Great American Beer Festival medals for their Coffee Porter, Kumquat Saison, and Sabre-Toothed Squirrel brews. Co-owner and Manager, Laurie Porter points out that Smog City brews are not dictated by their consumer base, but an embodiment of their characters.

“You’re really saying 'Okay, here’s us — put it in a bottle!' If you like it, then you respond to our brand. If you don’t like it, there’s another brand out there that you’re really gonna love. We’re not land grabbing everybody,” she said.

By doing so, Smog City plays to the craft beer mentality of "the rising tide floats all ships."