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Monday, December 7, 2015

Naples Beach Brewery

is a microbrewery in Naples, FL. They have been in the Naples area for about 3 years. The owner has always been interested in brewing beer and attended formal brewing classes in Michigan. After getting some on the job training, he moved to Naples to start his own microbrewery.

The business is located in an industrial park in Naples. There is an outside area to sit, and a homey, indoor tasting area

where different beers can be ordered

at a variety of price points.

What I really liked is that they serve beer flights, and 5 (five) oz. pours sell for $10.00. This is a really good way to sample their wares.

I was given a tour of their facility. Not being much of a beer drinker, the process was interesting. Simplistically, grains, are mixed with hot water to extract the sugars in vessels like this.

Flavoring agents like Hops in addition to other things can be added at this point to offset the sweetness of the grain/water extract (Wort).

The wort is transferred to other tanks and yeast added,

which go happily on their way producing alcohol.

The beer is then processed to remove most of the solids and put under pressure in a cold room.

They were trying a couple of things, one of which was a secondary fermentation in used Jim Beam whiskey barrels.

As I have said, I am not much of a beer drinker but what came out of this barrel was exceptional.

They have plans to expand. Presently they produce about 20  barrels a week. A barrel of beer (U.S.) holds 31 gallons. They are planning to up their capacity to about 25 times that amount,

but more on that later.

I had a brief chat with the owner on the world of beer, and it was very interesting being Terra Incognita to me at this point.

I asked the owner if he needed a liquor license to serve beer in his tasting room. Apparently, no. In the state of Florida, if you have a brewery, you can apply for a number of "consume on premises" permits. These can be beer, wine, spirits or all of the above. In Southwest Florida permitting seems to be very arbitrary as the City of Naples will allow all three but Collier County, where Naples is located, will not. As an aside, Collier County will permit food trucks but as a rule, the City of Naples will not. Go figure.

We then talked about taxes as I was curious how much they played in the cost of his product. That he would not tell me but a far more interesting fact came up. Federally, there is a $7.00 tax on a barrel (31 gallons) of beer but if you are a beer producer in the State of Florida there is $0.48/gallon tax levied on your product. This does not apply to producers outside the state.

Finally I asked him about how his product is distributed, and he was picked up by one of the local distributors. This is very much a quid pro quo relationship unfortunately stacked in favor of the Consignor. I found this in the photography world. If you wanted to exhibit in a gallery or most art centers in exchange for the exposure you would be charged 30-40% of the selling price. Usurious with out a doubt, but that's just how it is. I asked the owner if you could just go it on your own. He said yes, but in Florida you would be compelled to sell it to a distributor within 7 years. 

Right now, at the end of 2015, the only way out of these restrictions on a brewer in Florida is to increase one's production which is what the owner plans to do. Naples Beach Brewery will soon be experimenting with a bottling system so you may see their product in your local retail store!

There are really good things happening here, one of which is the food pairings with Porker BBQ.

I was originally going to combine the two events, but it's too much for one read. They are here every Saturday, noon-sellout and are incredible. It's a really great scene here on Saturdays with the beer and the food. More on that on the next blog post.

It's a wrap for another post on Forks.

Naples Beach Brewery
4120 Enterprise Ave. STE. 116
Naples, FL 34104

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