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Contest: Which brewery will open first?

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brewery contest feat editedDrink local. It's a great beer slogan, right? Too bad you can't do it in Sarasota or Manatee counties. Yeah, I know, you can go to the Sarasota Brewing Co. or Darwin's on 4th.  But those are brewpubs: They aren’t allowed to sell their beer to go. If you want to drink a craft beer away from its brewery, it has to be brewed by a production brewery.

How many production breweries are in our two counties? That’s an easy answer: Zero. But Sarasota and Manatee will soon be swimming in craft beer. Would you believe five production breweries are in the process of opening here? If you had told me a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Of course, if you are a regular Beer Geek reader, you’re already aware of all of this, since I tend to cover each move of the five breweries exhaustively. And after months of it, I’m getting exhausted. You might be, too.

Thankfully, it’s almost time for at least several of the potential breweries to open for business. The end is nigh.
But which will cross the finish line first? Which will become the first production brewery in Sarasota and Manatee counties?

To make this interesting, we’re going to have a little contest. From the five contenders, select the first three breweries that will open, in the correct order. If you win, you can take a dip in my Beer Geek treasure chest. It’s full of glasses, T-shirts and other promotional beer items. We may even be able to cajole the first few local breweries to hand over some swag. Note that we won’t know the winners until three breweries open, so you may have to be patient.

Fill out the form below, or go to Ticket’s Facebook page to submit your three picks.

If you haven’t followed the sprint to the finish line so far, here are the contenders, in alphabetical order. You can also read the past few months of Beer Geek if you need more information to handicap the race.

Big Top Brewing Co. (611 Porter Way, Sarasota) has installed their brewing equipment and will debut an India pale ale, Belgian wheat and pale ale created by homebrewer-turned-pro Josh Wilson.

Darwin Brewing Co. (801 17th Ave. W., Bradenton), the offshoot of Darwin's on 4th, just bought the building for their brewery and released a rendering of the project. They project to be open in time for spring training in 2014.

JDub's Brewing Co. (1215 Mango Ave., Sarasota) will start with an IPA and a German-style pilsener. Their brewing equipment hasn't been installed.

Little Giant Brewery (301 Seventh St. E., Bradenton) is working on the fourth site for what is mostly a one-man labor of love for brewmaster Michael Wagner, who has been trying to open his brewery for years.

Motorworks Brewing (1014 Ninth St. W., Bradenton) is going into a spot that once was a car dealership. They want to brew around the clock with a hoped-for output of 65,000 barrels a year, a very ambitious starting goal. They haven't announced their brewmaster and none of their equipment is installed.

The Great Local Brewery Race





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Alan Shaw

Alan Shaw has been a fan of craft beer for nearly two decades. He is partial to hops and has been an editor at the Herald-Tribune since 1997. He can be reached at (941) 361-4914, by email or mail at 1741 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. Follow him at @alancshaw on Twitter and on Facebook.
Last modified: September 18, 2013
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