It has taken an entire generation, but citizens of the United States are finally starting to understand the consequences of outsourcing the majority of our economy. An exemplary microcosm of this epidemic is provided by the brewing industry.
You know that “all-American” beer featured in every sporting event? It’s owned by a foreign company. You know that beer flavor you like so much that you wear it on your hat? It’s created with relatively untested genetically modified rice. Yes, I said rice.
With the economy in shambles, unemployment looming, and politicians selling the same problems as solutions, finding a solution inevitably appears daunting. Fortunately, there is one simple action we can all take with significant and quantifiable results.
Buying local products and services returns approximately 73 cents of every dollar to the local economy. Purchasing from a national retailer returns approximately 43 cents on the dollar. Unfortunately, the data is even more depressing when you consider making purchases from foreign-owned multi-national corporations.
The good news is that you can avoid the macroeconomic complexities and simply consider that the best thing for your local community is buying products produced within that community. Fortunately, Pensacola is now lucky enough to have the fine folks at the Pensacola Bay Brewery to help quench our multifaceted thirst.
“We are just happy and thankful that the city of Pensacola is allowing us to exist,” said Elliott Eckland, co-owner of the new downtown Pensacola venture. Considering that the craft beer industry makes up only 5 percent of the overall market and still provides over 100,000 jobs, the city of Pensacola should be the one doing the thanking.
Pensacola Bay Brewery isn’t simply leasing space in Pensacola. “I’m trying to buy everything that I need in my brewery locally,” explained Mark Roberts, head brewer and co-owner. This means building relationships with local hardware stores, plumbers, electricians, electric motor mechanics, and many other local businesses. Even one of their limited byproducts, spent grain, is sent to a local farm to subsidize feed for some very lucky cows.
Seeing how two home brewers, who decided to scale up their operations, have built a landmark in an incredibly short time is a sight to behold for beer aficionados and teetotalers alike. The Pensacola Bay Brewery is just the sort of example the area needs to demonstrate what’s possible when creativity and ambition collide.
The best way to see it up close is to participate in one of their informal group tours that takes place according to demand. As with all things, it’s best to call ahead if you are interested in learning more about their production process up close.
In addition to the production facility, the Pensacola Bay Brewery features a Tap Room. This is the best place to experience the tastes, and smells, of their current productions. Upon purchasing a souvenir glass, you will be presented with multiple options for a complimentary tasting.
If you don’t want to have to purchase a glass, I suggest you start a petition to remove Florida’s blue laws. In addition to tastings, you are also able to purchase one-gallon Growlers and 32-ounce Flip-flops for private consumption—off premises of course. The brewery will also be kegging beer in a multitude of sizes in the near future, so plan your next party accordingly.
In addition to the offerings at the source, you can also find Pensacola Bay Brewery beers at a growing number of businesses along the Emerald Coast. So far, distribution has reached as far as Fort Walton and there aren’t any plans to stop there. If your favorite local refreshment stand isn’t offering any local beers yet, ask them, “Why not?” Then tell them that they should, immediately.
Once you have broken away from tasteless beer, you may want to branch out even further into the world of craft brewing. A great way to do that is to attend a festival. “We will be participating in the Emerald Coast Beer Festival in Pensacola, the Florida Brewers Guild Festival in Tampa, and an additional festival in Tallahassee,” Roberts added. So feel free to make signs and purchase souvenir shirts so that you can cheer for Pensacola in a whole new arena.
Whether it’s for the economic impact or a warm, fuzzy feeling, it’s high time for us to all make a little more effort toward supporting both new and existing local businesses first and foremost. Besides, it doesn’t get much better than having a crisp fresh beer, for your community.
Li’l Napoleon IPA 7.5% ABV • 70 IBU • 15° P
A hearty blend of two-row malted barley and specialty malts offer up a smooth and flavorful IPA.
Christened in the name of all short bastards – the good, the bad, and the infamous.
DeLuna Extra Pale Ale 4.7% ABV • 23 IBU • 11.5° P
With Bohemian Pilsner malts, traditional Noble hops, Tettnanger, Hallertau and Saaz hops round out the flavor.
Too bad Tristan didn’t have a cold DeLuna Extra Pale for his hurricane party.
Riptide Amber 6.4% ABV • 40 IBU • 16.25° P
Made with two-row, Munich, and caramel malts, this redhead stays balanced with Northern Brewer and Goldings hops.
Don’t worry about getting dragged under, drink Riptide without leaving the shore.
Lighthouse Porter 6.9% ABV • 45 IBU • 15° P
Flavored with pleasant chocolate and roasted tones, the balanced flavor is due to a variety of hops.
Like the Pensacola Lighthouse, find your way to shore with a pint of porter.
Banyan Brown Ale 6.9% ABV • 47 IBU • 16° P
A rich blend of malted barley and specialty grains serve up a chocolately brown ale with warm toffee flavor.
Perfect for Florida winters, the mild body is enough to keep your warm.
Pensacola Bay’s Extra Special 6.4% ABV • 55 IBU • 15° P With two-row, Munich, and caramel malts, hopping in the secondary fermenter allows it to reach full potential.
Don’t let the name fool you, our ESB is smooth and refreshing.
1845 Pilsner 4.8% ABV • 30 IBU • 12° P
The cousin of a Czech Pilsner, made with a liberal dosing of Saaz hops, mixed with all Bohemian Pilsner malts.
Full of pride for our home state, 1845 celebrates the 166 years of statehood.
Sawgrass Wheat 5.2% ABV • 32 IBU • 13.25° P
Smooth and strong, two-row and wheat malts make a balanced and light-bodied beer.
Just like long summer nights and fireflies, this beer is available seasonally.
Conquistador Dopple Bock 7.01% ABV • 25 IBU • 19.5° P
Made with two-row and Munich malts, and only lightly hopped with traditional Tettnanger and Saaz hops.
After one or two you’ll start calling yourself don jose and looking for a helmet.