closed last month, Nik Mebane nearly found himself out of a job. But luckily, another brewmaster position was available atWynwood Brewing Company
. And Mebane landed the gig.
Rumors of Gordon Biersch's imminent closure had kept him on edge for months. After moving to Miami in April, he packed his belongings into a moving trailer and lived in temporary housing.
"It was all real quick. I had just signed a 12-month lease on a Friday in mid-October, and that Monday I found out that I had two weeks left to work," he says.
So as soon as the Brickell brewery went under, he applied for the position in Wynwood.
Nearly a decade ago, while studying journalism at Penn State, the 33-year-old began his brewing career at a place called Otto's Pub and Brewery. There, he quickly moved up the ranks from the brewmaster's sole assistant to lead brewer -- a position that involved several assistants of his own.
Otto's was a brewpub when Mebane started, but it now self-distributes its beer. This development increased its production capacity, which went from 700 to 800 barrels a year to more than 4,000. This experience helped Mebane secure his new Wynwood job.
"His extensive experience with Otto's -- bringing it from a small craft brewery to what it is now -- assures us he was the best choice for our brewery," says Luis Brignoni, Wynwood Brewing's founder.
Mebane is now responsible for all brewing operations -- from creativity to logistics and everything in between. The brewery is also set to permanently open its taproom December 4.
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With a new brewmaster and taproom, the brewery's main focus is to establish itself among Florida's craft brewing industry -- as well as do what great craft breweries do best: making the best beer.
"It's Miami's first production craft brewery, but we really want to be the best. We don't want to make good beer; we want to make the best beer we can possibly make," Mebane says.