LauderAle, Fort Lauderdale's newest brewery, opened its doors to the public over the weekend and the turnout was so great that it almost ran out of beer.
But then again, the brewery runs on a one-barrel system and the people of South Florida apparently love local craft beer.
After receiving their business tax license from the city on Monday, owners Kyle Jones and Joey Farrell were already in the final steps of opening. All they needed was the beer, which sat in the fermenting tanks, gaining strength for their grand opening on Thursday night.
For Jones and Farrell, first came the worry of whether or not the beer was going to be ready come Thursday. After seeing how many people were coming through the doors, they realized there might not be enough to last through the weekend. They went through four barrels over the weekend, but luckily they did not run out.
Jones said they thought about shutting down briefly after their opening weekend to create a backlog of beer.
"We were packed all weekend," Jones said, admitting that he was a bit scared of running out of brew during the opening weekend of his brewery. "What happens when you run out? Who knows where they came from and how long they have been waiting to try it?"
The brewery was open from Thursday to Sunday. On tap were at least six beers:
porters, IPAs and saisons. There were two different versions of each, with the recipes slightly tweaked. Technically the same beers, but Jones said that some people were able to taste the difference.
Their supply was nearly depleted when Jones and Farrell ordered four more fermenting tanks and at least 2,000 more pounds of grain. The brewery has been open for barely a week and already the owners are looking to expand.
LauderAle even sported a few guest taps to handle the demand. Other than their own beer, the brewery hosted Due South's caramel cream ale, Funky Buddha's Floridian hefeweizen and Cigar City's Florida Cracker white ale.
Since the brewery can currently only brew one barrel at a time, all of the beer is made for the taproom - for now. However, Jones said the brewery is not quite ready for distribution and that until the brew house expands, production will be limited.
"The whole reason we got into this is to get into a business and fill the demand gap," Jones said.
What's next for the brewery? More equipment, food trucks and expansion planning. Immediate improvements for the taproom are being made: bigger speakers and a bigger fan. Jones said they might also sell wine.
Besides the brewery, Farrell will be continuing his education at Cornell University for the next 20 months where he will maintain the books while Jones manages the business.
With one business partner abroad, the owners are seeking to hire a brewmaster with "extensive brewing knowledge and creativeness" to help with the expansion, Jones said. They hired one employee from Naples Beach Brewery to assist with brewing on Mondays and Tuesdays, which is not ideal but works for now, Jones said. Also, because Farrell and Jones are members of the Fort Lauderdale Area Brewers brew club, they have received help from them too.
Other than beer, LauderAle will have merchandise available such as t-shirts, pint glasses, hats, stickers and growlers imprinted with its logo.