Beer & Wine

Descarga Brewing Company to Open in North Miami in September

Descarga Brewing Company's Felix Pons (left), Manny Jannes, and Tony Meneses.
Descarga Brewing Company's Felix Pons (left), Manny Jannes, and Tony Meneses. Courtesy of Descarga Brewing Company
click to enlarge Descarga Brewing Company's Felix Pons (left), Manny Jannes, and Tony Meneses. - COURTESY OF DESCARGA BREWING COMPANY
Descarga Brewing Company's Felix Pons (left), Manny Jannes, and Tony Meneses.
Courtesy of Descarga Brewing Company
North Miami will soon get its first brewery. Descarga Brewing Company is expected to open in September at 12355 NE 13th Ave., co-owner Manny Jannes says.

The 2,800-square-foot space will contain a three-barrel production system and a 1,200-square-foot tasting room. The brewery will offer seating for 60 people, including 20 seats in a 600-square-foot outdoor beer garden.

With costs being so high for construction, Jannes was able to persuade North Miami officials to assist him with the brewery. On June 13, Jannes received unanimous approval from the city's Community Redevelopment Agency board for a $150,000 business attraction grant.

The grant is awarded to entrepreneurs the city thinks will attract business to the area and usually matches only 50 percent of the costs. This grant, however, will fund 67 percent of the costs, estimated to be $235,106.

It wasn't difficult to persuade the city, considering the rapid growth of the craft beer industry locally and statewide. Jannes provided several facts and figures in his grant package and argued how microbreweries tend to stimulate economic growth in the communities surrounding them. According to Jannes, "It's going to keep people in the city because everyone is going to other cities for a good time."

Even better for Jannes is the fact that the brewery will be located directly across the street from an upcoming Tri-Rail station, which he thinks will be good for business and make Descarga more accessible.

In the package, Miami brewers such as John Falco from Lincoln's Beard Brewing Company and Ismael Fernandez from Legacy Caribbean Craft Brewery went to bat for Jannes in getting the request approved.

"It has been proven time and time again that breweries and their associated tap rooms are an effective 'shot-in-the-arm' for the transformation and economic development of a growing area," Falco wrote.

Once completed, the brewery will be the realization of a longtime dream for Jannes. For the past four years, Jannes has experienced a series of setbacks, including the departure of several partners who were interested in the project. But Jannes has been persistent.

Roadblocks included the original name of the brewery, Opus Ales, which was changed after Jannes said he received a cease-and-desist notification from Opus One Winery in California.

The winery, which is a joint venture between Philippe de Rothschild (of the banking family) and vintner Robert Mondavi, sent Jannes the notification after he informed the winery of his planned brewery name. Opus One even provided a list of other entities it has gone after in the past, he says. "They do their due diligence and then some," Jannes says.

So he changed the name to Descarga, a Spanish word that translates to "jam session."

Some of Descarga's beers include Hi-Ju-Doin, a raspberry Belgian ale brewed with hibiscus and juniper seeds; Ma Mamey La, a blonde fruited with mamey, which Jannes describes as a "milkshake kind of beer"; and a Baltic porter aged in palo santo wood barrels.

"We went with 'Descarga' because every time we brewed, it felt like a jam session to us," Jannes says.
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David Minsky is a U.S. Navy veteran and Tulane graduate who has experience reporting on stories from California, South Florida, and the Deep South. He has also won some journalism awards. Email or tweet David with story tips and ideas.
Contact: David Minsky