Beer & Wine

Spanish Marie Brewing Company Coming to West Kendall

Spanish Marie Brewing Company is coming to Miami, and soon West Kendall will have a local spot where beer is made. 

Spanish Marie will house a full production brewery and retail shop, nestled in a complex of warehouses near Tamiami Airport at 14241 SW 120th St. Cofounder Albert Cespedes is pleased with the location because it's becoming a high-demand area, and he acquired the space at a good price, he says. 

The brewery plants itself in a region of Miami where breweries are scarce if nonexistent. "Hopefully, we'll be able to get the Kendall community behind craft beer," Cespedes says. 

The founders are in the final weeks of permitting and hope to have Spanish Marie open by midsummer, although delays have been known to happen. 

But one thing they can count on, other than having a location, is having already acquired the brewing equipment. Brewmaster Jaime Medina will use a seven-barrel system they picked up in Kansas.

As if starting a brewery isn't hard enough, the lengths to which Cespedes and Medina had to go to get the equipment became an adventure.

They went to Kansas and tracked down some used brewing equipment they spotted in an advertisement and discovered it was stored on an abandoned missile silo base on the outskirts of Salina. They ran into a snag when they realized the rental truck to haul the equipment might be too small. And despite the original owner offering to help load the equipment with a forklift, Cespedes and Medina wanted to do it themselves. So the two used a little manpower and loaded the pieces into the truck using their own strength. To their surprise, everything fit, and they drove back to Miami.

If you wondered why you've seen the Spanish Marie guys dressed up at beer festivals, there's a reason. According to Cespedes, the name "Spanish Marie" is an ode to Florida's rumrunning days. The outfits they wear reflect the Prohibition-era attire of the time.

According to Sally J. Ling, AKA "Florida's History Detective," "Spanish Marie" is actually a nickname for notorious Miami rumrunner Marie Waite, whose husband was killed in a shootout with the Coast Guard in the 1920s. Waite herself continued her husband's smuggling business.

Eventually, she was caught, but failed to show up to her court dates and disappeared. What happened to her is a mystery. 

It's a piece of history that Cespedes feels is represented in the Spanish Marie brewery. 

Even though he and his team are concentrating on making beer at the moment, someday he hopes to add a food-pairing component. At the brewery, Cespedes is also putting in a retail location with growler fills, high-end chocolates, and other items. 

They worked with Fontainebleau Hotel chocolatier Chris O'Neil to develop a few pairings, mostly revolving around desserts. You might have seen Spanish Marie beer-and-ice-cream pairings at a few local beer festivals. 

"If we can do beer floats," Cespedes says, "I'm sure there are other pairings we can work with." 
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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