If you hear someone saying there’s not much good beer brewed in the state of Florida, welcome them back from the cryogenic freezer they’ve obviously been in for the last decade.
The Sunshine State now has more than 30 operating craft breweries, with many more in the works. Florida breweries are producing some of the most sought-after brews around, with beer geeks lining up hours in advance of special releases. Florida even has its own nascent indigenous beer style: Florida Weiss, a tart, low-alcohol German-inspired wheat ale that’s made with fruit.
To make finding Florida brew easier, I’ve compiled a list of all the craft breweries in the state, along with noting which ones are available in Sarasota and Manatee counties. You’ll note than a decent number on the list aren’t available here. Craft brewing in Florida is fairly regional, and many of our breweries are quite small and don’t brew enough to send all over the state. (Few on this list are more than five years old.) It’s a great excuse for a road trip.
Before I get to the list, here's a Q & A:
Q: What’s a craft brewery?
A: I use the Brewers Association definition. A craft brewer is small, independent and traditional. This means they brew less than 6 million barrels a year, aren’t controlled by non-craft brewers and use ingredients to enhance, rather than lighten, flavor.
Q: What’s a production brewery?
A: A Florida production brewery is licensed to brew beer for sale off premises, meaning that you can drink these brews at bars and buy them in stores. Most production breweries in Florida have tasting rooms and give tours. Visiting a brewery is great fun. Often, they’ll have beers on tap that you can’t get anywhere else. And beer doesn’t get any fresher than at the brewery.
Q: What’s a brewpub?
A: In Florida, a brewpub is a brewery that can only make beer for consumption on premises. They aren’t licensed to sell beer to go. That’s why you can only get Darwin’s on 4th and Sarasota Brewing Co. brews at the source.
Q: What’s a contract brewer/beer marketing company?
A: A company that contracts with a third-party brewery to produce its beer. Sometimes criticized for not producing their own product.
I created the following list by first searching the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation database for all licensed production breweries, omitting those that aren’t craft brewers.
This list doesn’t include contract brewers/beer marketing companies because they don’t have production brewery licenses; it also doesn’t have the many breweries currently in planning (like JDub’s in Sarasota, Motorworks in Bradenton and Funky Buddha in South Florida) because they don’t have a license and/or aren’t open yet.
Q: Is that all?
A: I’d love to know if I’ve overlooked any breweries.
I also didn’t include the many brewpubs in the Sunshine State because they aren’t allowed to sell their beer to go. That’s a whole different list.
I’ve noted which breweries have beers available in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Note that “available locally” can range from being able to find a brewery’s beers (like those from Cigar City) in a lot of stores and bars to only being able to find a brewery (like Three Palms) on tap at a few select watering holes. Many of these breweries are so small that they only keg their beers.
A final tip: Call or check out a brewery’s website before making a visit. Some have odd tasting room hours or only offer tours a few days a week. I’d hate for you to drive all over only to end up tired and thirsty at a closed brewery.
Enjoy American Craft Beer Week.
A map of all currently active Florida craft production breweries. Red points indicate breweries that sell beer in Manatee and Sarasota counties. Click each point for more information. You can also use the search bar to look for a brewery, address, city, etc.
View Florida craft breweries in a full screen map
The breweries in list form. You can sort by name, address, availability, etc. by clicking the column headers.