No doubt about it – St. Petersburg has become a microbrewery destination. So much so in fact that, according to an article in Forbes magazine, it rivals Portland, Denver and Asheville. (https://www.forbes.com/…/the-50-fastest-growing-craft-breweries-in-the-united-states)
What’s behind the craft beer phenomenon? And why are consumers so loyal? The Brewers Association and Nielsen Research set out to find the answers by conducting a nationally representative survey of more than 1,000 regular craft beer drinkers, 58-percent of whom said they consume craft beer at least weekly. Here are some of the more interesting findings:
#1. The word “Craft” signifies many things to consumers. Highest on the list of associations were the phrases small/independent company, hand-crafted and small-batch production. Choosing a beer that is ‘locally made’ mattered to 52-percent of craft beer drinkers, and has increased in importance from just a few years ago.
#2. Consumers like craft over non-craft beer for ideological and quality reasons. When asked “Why would you choose a craft beer?” revealed high instances of words like taste, flavor, variety, better, and local. Yes, craft beer drinkers are a passionate bunch.
#3. Variety. Craft beer drinkers are always looking for the next new beer to love. In a typical month, respondents said they purchase 3.6 different brands of craft beer. For the segment of people who drinks craft beer at least weekly, this increased to 4.4 different brands.
St. Pete’s Breweries
CYCLE BREWING COMPANY
Some of the best craft beers in the area can be found in the Grand Central District. First stop for any craft beer enthusiast has to be Cycle Brewing. Not only is it the perfect brewery to start you on your journey, it’s also located conveniently near the museum district and close to quite a few parking garages. A must try for any true beer connoisseur is their award-winning Cream & Sugar, Please Coffee Porter. Cycle Brewing opens at 3 PM on Monday through Thursday, but you can get there earlier on Saturday and Sunday when doors open at noon.
CAGE BREWING COMPANY
Another Grand Central all-star is just down the street at Cage Brewing. The origin story for Cage Brewing begins at R Bar on Treasure Island and ends with an incredible facility in the heart of St. Petersburg that is covered in work from local artists. A large grassy yard makes this brewery very pet-friendly.
PINELLAS ALE WORKS
Just across the street is Pinellas Ale Works, another pet-friendly brewery located at the intersection of 20th Street and First Avenue happens to feature some unique beer names that definitely fit the theme with Sit! (Amber Ale) and Stay! (American Pale Ale), Doberman (Brown Ale) and the Pomeranian (a Porter). Both breweries open at 3 PM on Monday through Thursday, but you can start your day earlier on the weekend when doors open at noon.
GREEN BENCH BREWING COMPANY
Some of the city’s staples are right around the corner, and all feature a very different vibe. Green Bench Brewing Co. is located just a short walk from Tropicana Field. It is St. Pete’s first microbrewery, formed by old high school friends who were raised in the area. History is seeped into every detail of this project – from the red brick garage built in 1926 that it’s housed in, to its name stemming from the 2,500+ green benches that lined downtown St. Petersburg in the early 1900s. Some of the highlights of this brewery are the Green Bench IPA and the Skyway Wheat.
Another game changer in the area when it comes to local craft beer is probably also one of the biggest, 3Daughters Brewery. Located on 22nd St. South, they started brewing craft beers when looking for the perfect recipe for beer battered fish in a local restaurant. The popularity of their brews quickly led to the decision to open a brewery and they now feature over 60 craft beer recipes on tap. Not only can many of their brews be found in restaurants and stores throughout the Tampa Bay area, they are also extremely popular throughout the state of Florida, Georgia and the Bahamas. Their most popular beer is probably their Beach Blonde Ale, with the Bimini Twist IPA right behind it. Doors open around 2PM on Monday through Friday, and 12PM and 1PM on Saturday and Sunday.
BOTTOM LINE: Alcohol is alcohol. The big thing with craft beer is be aware what you are drinking. Some of these beers have a much higher Alcohol by Volume (ABV). One double IPA, one imperial stout isn’t equal to one light beer anymore — now it’s almost two or potentially three.
What Does ABV and IBU Mean? | Berghoff Beer: www.berghoffbeer.com
Brewing Up a Business: Adventures in Beer from the Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, by Sam Calagione
Craft Beer Trail | Visit St Petersburg Clearwater Florida