The founder of J. Wakefield Brewing recently inked a deal that will make his beers available at 40 Publix locations throughout South Florida, from the Keys to Broward.
The beer, which will be distributed through Gold Coast, will be ready for store managers at Publix to begin ordering January 6, which means beer lovers should start seeing them in stores by the end of the second week of the month.
Right now, two of Wakefield's core beers — Hops for Teacher, a 6.5% ABV American IPA; and El Jefe, a 5% ABV Hefeweizen — are set for distribution. He says two other beers — 24th Street Brown and Amber Waves — will follow shortly. The beers will be sold in four-packs and retail for about $12.99 for El JEfe and $13.99 for Hops for Teacher.
Wakefield says that in order to fulfill requests for the beer, he has added four more tanks to his Wynwood brewery. In addition, he has taken over the lease for a facility directly across the street from the Wynwood brewery to use as additional storage space for barrels and a walk-in cooler. Wakefield stresses that all the beer will be made at the brewery, not contracted out. "All the beer will be made by our original brewing team." He says he looked into contract brewing some time ago but didn't feel comfortable letting go of control. "We've now reached the point where we can tackle some volume on our own. We felt is was a good idea to approach Publix and had a meeting." According to Wakefield, the meeting went well: Publix signed the deal only two days after the discussion.
Wakefield has also initiated a conversation with Whole Foods Market about a possible distribution deal.
Plus, the brewer is looking to purchase a facility in North Miami, where he plans to open a 5,000-barrel production facility and taproom that will also serve food.
Wakefield says the project, part of North Miami's planned brewery district, won't be open for about 18 months, but he's already got plans in place. "Miami is my hometown, but North Miami is really my hometown."
The brewer, chatting over the phone from Asheville, North Carolina, where he's working on a collaboration with Burial Brewing, says he's happy with the progress his brewery is making organically but has no plans to expand further — or accept a buyout.
"We're not looking to make beer just to make beer," he says. "My end goal is to produce about 10,000 barrels and not to go anywhere beyond that. That's a lot of beer by anyone's standards."
Wakefield says he has fielded offers in the past but loves making beer too much to take anyone up on an offer. "I enjoy what I'm doing. I enjoy making craft beer, and I'm not ready to retire at 41. I feel comfortable doing what I'm doing every day."
Here's the list of Publix stores where you can find J. Wakefield beer in the coming weeks (subject to changes/additions):
- Publix #0581, 134 SW 13th St., Miami
- Publix #1397, 1776 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
- Publix #1382, 6876 Collins Ave., Miami
- Publix #0794, 9050 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
- Publix #0575, 5407 Overseas Hwy., Marathon
- Publix #1136, 2950 NE Eighth St., Homestead
- Publix #1445, 1112 Key Plaza, Key West
- Publix #0658, 9103 S. Dadeland Blvd., Miami
- Publix #0376, 101499 Overseas Hwy., Key Largo
- Publix #0084, 2551 S. Le Jeune Rd., Miami
- Publix #1494, 1500 SW 57th Ave., West Miami
- Publix #0044, 7807 SW 40th St., Miami
- Publix #0051, 1500 Douglas Rd., Miami
- Publix #0328, 20425 Old Cutler Rd., Cutler Bay
- Publix #0714, 4870 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
- Publix #0550, 9041 SW 107th Ave., Maimi
- Publix #0127, 2270 SW 27th Ave., Miami
- Publix #1495, 83268 Overseas Hwy., Islamorada
- Publix #1429, 9420 SW 56th St., Miami
- Publix #0223, 14601 S. Dixie Hwy., Miami
- Publix #0835, 12055 SW 127th Ave., Miami
- Publix #0327, 13850 SW Eighth St., Miami
- Publix #0024, 10201 Hammocks Blvd., Miami
- Publix #0238, 14630 SW 26th St., Miami
- Publix #0010, 8341 W. Flagler St., Miami
- Publix #1273, 18280 SW 147th Ave., Miami
- Publix #0621, 1920 West Ave., Miami
- Publix #0237, 13001 SW 112th St., Miami
- Publix #1389, 11750 SW 104th St., Miami
- Publix #0588, 4260 SW 152 Ave., Miami
- Publix #1062, 15771 SW 152 St., Miami
- Publix #0889, 15755 S W 56 St., Miami
- Publix #1209, 1100 Sixth St., Miami
- Publix #1571, 8455 NW 53th Terr., Miami
- Publix #1288, 106 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Miami
- Publix #0586, 3339 W. 80th St., Hialeah
- Publix #0402, 1400 E. Hallandale Beach Blvd., Hallandale
- Publix #0673, 14375 Miramar Pkwy., Miramar
- Publix #1236, 12800 N. Biscayne Blvd., North Miami