Take a break from bottled imports and domestic beer drudgery. Craft beer has joined the party. The Miami Brewers Alliance aims to bring the word to the street by educating vendors, consumers, and local government officials about the emerging craft brewing industry.
Ross Appel, executive director and attorney, explains the passion behind rallying the community in support of this marketplace: "It's ultra-collaborative between the brewers [in Miami] and hopefully the vendors and other businesses we work with, brewers, ultimately to promote the industry," he says.
Luis Brignoni, vice president and owner of Wynwood Brewing Company, hopes to encourage home brewers to reach a professional level so that the Miami craft brewing scene can pluck from a pool of talent.
The goal is to collaborate with other organizations such as FIU and Miami Culinary Institute in order to educate and support future craft brewers. "The most important thing is to educate not just the consumer but also start-ups and brewers in planning," Brignoni says.
While there are just three breweries in Miami and one brew pub, Appel says that will soon change. In fact, three more breweries are expected to open in just a few months and within a year Miami will see that number double or even triple.
But you can't have beer without a party so the alliance plans to have a beer festival, or a beard festival, they say half-jokingly, before the end of the year. Appel says it will be something small, about 700 to 1,000 people, an event for people to get to know the brewers. As Eddie Leon, president of the alliance and MIA Brewing Company, explains, "The first one is sort of a get to know you kind of thing. It could also be a membership drive."
Next year, the Miami Brewers Alliance has something more ambitious in mind. "Our main event would probably be called Brew Miami and that would be something on a much higher level," Leon says.
The beer festivals may still be in the planning stages, but if the Alliance is involved, it's clear people will show up. The reason? Good beer.