It’s very rare that South Florida and good craft beer culture are mentioned in the same sentence. To most we are wasteland for beer fanatics. We are no where close to areas like the upper North West, Colorado, Philly, Boston, Asheville, etc. Distribution down here can be a pain and for those that do distribute down here we are usually last or next to last in the country to get our hands on seasonals or new brews. While we do get some of the big names of craft brewing like Rogue, Dogfish Head, Sierra Nevada and Stone (only since November 2008) we lack some of the other most well received craft brewers in the country like New Belgium, Deshutes, Lost Abbey and Russian River. I know many craft beer specific distributors try their best to bring new brews down here but it can be difficult. With this economy many are weary of expanding into new markets. But things seem to be looking up for us down here.
Last week we were graced with Star Hill Brewery out of Virginia. I am not familiar with their stuff but it is a new welcomed brewer and I intend on trying some of their stuff over the next few months.
This week we welcomed in Shelton Brothers Beers who carry the widely regarded Mikkeller and Jolly Pumpkin brews. I have seen both of those breweries mention many times on the web and their stuff should be hitting our shelves very shortly, if they have not already.
I was in my local store last week when I came across a big orange sign by the beer section stating “Magic Hat Coming 11-1-09.” This was a pleasant surprise to me and I have heard a good amount of these guys before. After doing some more research I have found out that it will only be their #9 coming down at first. I guess they have a strange process of entering new markets. Apparently they only send a #9 draft for a few select bars. If that does well they will then go to #9 bottles in stores for around a year and then if things are good they start sending the rest. While a little odd I can understand as it is a good way to gauge the market with out having to spend a lot of money heading there at first.
And then probably one of the biggest surprises, and my personal most excited about, is Victory. A mere hour drive from my former home in Philly suburb Bensalem to Downingtown, Victory is one of the brewers I hear the most about. My cousin Steve has raved about them for years and I was able to have a pint of their lager a few years ago on a visit. I guess with them being from my home state is what makes me most excited about their arrival but great reviews of HopDevil, Prima Pils and Hop Wallop are enough to get one eagerly waiting for their presence. I don’t remember the exact time frame of when they are to be here but I believe it was suppose to be before the end of November.
I have to say with these additions to the South Florida market it makes it an exciting time for us beer lovers down here. If you are in South Florida please feel free to voice your opinions on these new additions.