Beer Beer Beer

Craft Beer Cartel Opens in Fort Lauderdale, New Home Of Native Brewing

Native Brewing Company now has a temporary home, and it's being touted as much more than a simple brewing space.

The Craft Beer Cartel is a new concept from Native's Adam Fine and Riverside Market's Julian and Lisa Siegel which features a traditional bottle shop, space for a small on-premise brewing operation, and Broward county's first homebrew supply shop.

Located just across the street from the Riverside Market in residential Fort Lauderdale, the Craft Beer Cartel opened this past weekend to the public.

What exactly is the Cartel?

See also: Florida Beer: Biscayne Bay Brewing's Saison

"Cartel just seemed like the right name," Lisa Siegel said, describing that everyone they work with in the beer community is a part of their extended family and their "beer famous" life.

"We will be offering everything one would need to brew beer and every beer one would want to buy," explained co-owner Julian Siegel. "Hard-to-find kegs will be common. An 8-line growler fill station, glassware, T-shirts, and advice will abound."

"It's the whole beer experience," Native Brewing's Adam Fine said during the ribbon cutting celebrations. "Everything you need to make beer, all the instruction... all the input... seeing what brewing is all about with Native Brewing... you've got every aspect of the brewing process right here. We'll be teaching homebrewing classes here... At the end of the day, we want to help people brew beer."

Until now, homebrewers in Broward had to travel north to Boca Raton to find the closest local homebrew shop, or down south to Biscayne Home Brew in Miami. If your smack pack of yeast went bust, or you needed to run out to replace a broken hydrometer, you'd have to drive 20 miles in some cases to get supplies. Not having a local homebrew store left many feeling like they were up shit creek without a mash paddle.

As for Native, the building will be housing their experimental 20 gallon pilot system. "We'll be working on new recipes here and developing them and hopefully we'll take those recipes and contract them until we get our own brewery," Fine said, adding that for the time being, there will just be some sampling events. "Once we get the manufacturing license, we'll be able to do growler fills, [and] sell to a distributor."

In addition to the homebrew shop and nanobrew system, Craft Beer Cartel features a massive art installation. Hand assembled by Riverside regulars, beer geeks, home brewers, friends, family, and beer reps over the last three months, the Cartel boasts a floor made up of approximately 300,000 bottlecaps in a glossy arrangement of craft beer brands, college logos, mantras, company tags, and abstract art.

[Author's note: If you can find the Dig Dug character Taizo Hori, that's mine. Tag me on Instagram]

The idea for the floor stemmed from a trip to New York City, where a bottlecap-covered wall on the side of a restaurant in Brooklyn grabbed Lisa's attention, wherein she sent a picture to Julian who filed it away.

"He has one of those amazing minds where he knows he's going to do something with it, so he holds on to it." When it came time to renovate the building that now holds the Cartel, the idea came back out. Thus the floor was born.

The thirsty and the curious can make their way to 557 SW 12th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale to get a first hand look at this new establishment. It's easy to get to if you're already familiar with Riverside Market: it's right across the street. Hours are currently 8am to 10pm, seven days a week.

Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers, and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.

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Doug Fairall
Contact: Doug Fairall