Khoffner Brewery USA Opening This Fall, Bringing German-Style Beers to Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale-based Khoffner Brewery USA cofounder Rauf Vagifoglu-Khoffner.
Fort Lauderdale-based Khoffner Brewery USA cofounder Rauf Vagifoglu-Khoffner.
Photo by Nicole Danna

Khoffner Brewery USA cofounders Rauf Vagifoglu-Khoffner and Evan Kagan are planning to revolutionize the craft beer scene in Florida.

As chief brewmaster for Khoffner Brewery USA, Vagifoglu-Khoffner says his mission is to amass the area's largest selection of German-style craft ales, and he's doing it in Fort Lauderdale.

"Here in the U.S., there are a lot of breweries doing amazing things, but the brewing scene in Florida is still evolving and maturing. I came here to start a revolution," said Vagifoglu-Khoffner. "I'm bringing my family knowledge and experience, and my goal is to make some of the best European and craft American beer around."

The son of esteemed German brewer Karl Hoffner, Vagifoglu-Khoffner has brewing beer in his blood — a family tradition that spans three generations, beginning with his grandfather. The family name earned notoriety when his father left Germany in 1933 to brew for the Turkish government's Bomonti beer factory. With the permission of the German Brewers' Guild, Hoffner moved his family to Turkey and began production of German beer, a position he held for more than four decades.

Now, Vagifoglu-Khoffner — who named his original Turkey-based brewery after his family's German surname spelling — is looking to take the South Florida craft beer scene by storm with his father's old-world brewing techniques and more than 300 family recipes.

Vagifoglu-Khoffner says he began learning about the brewing process at a young age. In his early teens, his father taught him to brew according to the German Beer Purity Law — known as Reinheitsgebot — a 500-year-old regulation created by the Holy Roman Empire and later instituted in Germany that stipulated only water, barley, and hops could be used in the production of beer. In 1993, the law was replaced with the Provisional German Beer Law, which allows ingredients such as yeast, wheat malt, and cane sugar.

"My father worked under those original laws and brewed with just three types of malt and five varieties of hops. In those days, no experimenting was allowed," says Vagifoglu-Khoffner. "I was fascinated by this. I wanted to experiment, mix different ingredients to get new tastes, new colors, new aromas — something we couldn't do in Turkey or Germany. Today, my only goal is to continue in my father's footsteps, but in my own way."

Just don't ask him how he does it. Vagifoglu-Khoffner won't be sharing any family secrets. "Never ask me what I put in my beer. Never ask me how I make it. Just tell me if you like it or not," he says. "That's all that's important."

Khoffner Brewery USA's Pan American IPA (left) and Pumpkin Patch seasonal ale.
Khoffner Brewery USA's Pan American IPA (left) and Pumpkin Patch seasonal ale.
Courtesy of Khoffner Brewery USA

At 18, Vagifoglu-Khoffner began traveling to study beer production around the world, garnering knowledge from some of Europe’s most esteemed brewmasters. In 2012, he relocated to the United States to visit the nation's top-rated breweries. Last year, he connected with Kagan, a friend and avid homebrewer who today stands as cofounder of Khoffner Brewery USA in Fort Lauderdale, located a few doors south of South Florida Distillers.

Although Khoffner Brewery is still under construction, Kagan confirms the brewery has already signed with Deerfield Beach-based Double Eagle Distributing, a deal he and Vagifoglu-Khoffner say will help them place Khoffner beer in bars and restaurants from Fort Lauderdale to Miami.

The 5,000-square-foot brewery is home to a production bottling system and a small army of brewing tanks, custom-built equipment that includes eight 30-barrel tanks, several 15- and 20-barrel tanks, and five five-barrel tanks that will be used to brew Khoffner's four flagship families of beer, as well as limited-edition and small-batch brews.

Construction is also making way for a 2,000-square-foot tasting room where guests will be able to sample anywhere from ten to 25 Khoffner Brewery beers at any given time, everything from ales, lagers, and Belgian-style brews to IPAs, stouts, porters, and lambics.

"I want to show Europe that America can also produce high-quality, German-style beer," says Vagifoglu-Khoffner. "Most of all, I care about the quality of the beer and about tradition. It's my goal to put Florida on the map for good beer in the U.S."

Khoffner Brewery is slated to begin production brewing in October. An opening date has not been set.

Khoffner Brewery is located at 1110 NE Eighth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-614-2746, or visit khoffner.us.

Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >