Big things are happening at Schnebly Miami Brewing Company. First the beer appeared at LoKal Burgers and Beer, then a short time later at World of Beer-Dadeland. Now: across Florida. Late last month, Miami-Dade's first craft brewery signed a distribution contract with Doral-based Gold Coast Beverage Distributors, Inc.
Gold Coast is Florida's largest beer distributor, according to their website. Their territory spans from Tequesta, Palm Beach County, to Broward, Miami and the Florida Keys.
Not just known for wine anymore, Schnebly's has expanded its market reach into the craft beer world, winning over beer snobs in the process with its unique beer flavored with fruit grown on the farm.
Its first mass-distributed beer, Big Rod Ale, is a one-of-a-kind coconut-flavored beer. Gator Tail brown ale, Redland Farm American IPA and Shark Attack Wheat Ale comprise the rest of their beer selection
Gold Coast will be distributing slim, five-gallon kegs of Schnebly's beer. Besides kegging, the brewery plans to can their beer sometime in the future. Direct canning ensures the quality of the beer since it completely eliminates exposure to light. Other than in a 32-growler, Schnebly's beer is found in either a keg or a pint glass in your hand.
Although it's mainly a MillerCoors distributor, Gold Boast is expanding its portfolio to include the craft beer market. According to the website, they manage nearly 10,000 licensed accounts and service over 5.6 million people in South Florida. Last week, the company threw its fourth annual private home brew competition in Fort Lauderdale to train its employees on the merits of craft beer.
As a testament to the do-it-yourself ethic, workers at the Schnebly farm built the boil kettle and mash tun themselves. Each tank can hold 16 barrels.
All beer is hand-crafted and made with fruit: guava, orange, peach, lemon, mango, passion fruit and coconut.
If fruity beers seem blasphemous to the educated beer snob, remember that Schnebly's is completely local and truly Miami. Try it before forming an opinion, you might be surprised.
Once the grain is boiled, the extracted wort is transferred to either of four 30 barrel brite tanks. It takes approximately four kettles worth of wort to fill the tanks while still accounting for roughly a foot of head, or foam, on the upper level of the tank.
The beer is then transferred to either one of seven, 15-barrel aging tanks. Due to the intense humidity as a result of the boil kettle, the wood facade of each tank has begun to deteriorate.
Before complete damage can be done, however, each wooden panel is currently being removed and re-conditioned for later re-installation.
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After signing with Florida's largest beer distributor, the small farm brewery is getting its name on the map. With lots of room for growth in the craft beer market, the eventual question vis-a-vis Schnebly's: how much is enough?
"The sky is the limit you know?" Schnebly's President Mauricio Mejia said. "Right now it's thinking about the small things. We want to be as big as we can be, whatever that means. The main goal is making very good quality craft beer, make it fun and make it consistent."