Having recently smashed through a crowdsourced funding campaign via Crowdbrewed, Jonathan Wakefield has passed through another checkpoint in the journey to opening a brewery and taproom in Miami: a distribution deal.
J. Wakefield Brewing will be signing on with local distributor Gold Coast, who also handles breweries such as Sweetwater and New Belgium for the Broward and Palm Beach areas. The deal will make his series of core brands and popular sour creations available to local bars and restaurants.
"We have been working and watching Jonathan's Brewing expertise," Darren Daughtry, Craft and Import Specialty Manager for Gold Coast says. "[His] popularity and quality have grown over the last years, and we are thrilled to partner with JWB. We believe Miami local craft scene is poised to explode, he's created a wonderful new style in Florida Weiss beers, and we see JWB as the catalyst that will accelerate the local craft scene."
When Jonathan Wakefield was looking for a distributor to carry his beer, Gold Coast felt like the right fit.
"I felt it in my gut," he says. "Something about them caught my eye. They have Miami Brewing Company, but no one else local... I think [Miami] is ready to pop in the craft beer scene. They cover great accounts in this area, and that's what I wanted. We need to take care of the home front first."
The sour-beer market is small but growing, and Wakefield has made a name for himself in the burgeoning field.
"There's as much flavor and complexity in this four percent beer [as in] a barrel-aged stout, for example," says Wakefield. "[There are] tons of different aspects in something of low alcohol content."
That's what Wakefield has become known for: full-flavored, low-alcohol sour beers; much the same as the Old World Belgian and Dutch-styled beers.
"It's still pretty new for most beer drinkers," he says.
The avid local homebrewer opened up a funding campaign in September and raised $111,990 in a time that would make even Silicon Valley's heads spin.
As the opening date for J. Wakefield Brewing comes closer, the anticipation for this brewery has reached new heights.
"I'm promised to be able to start construction second week of December," Wakefield says. "Build out will take a month or two, with equipment slated to arrive third week of January. Opening might be pushed to the first week of April due to a busy Florida beer schedule in March: Tampa Beer Week and Hunahpu Day."
In the meantime, locals can sample up to a dozen of Wakefield's beers on December 6th in a pop up in front of his future brewery space in Wynwood [at 120 NW 24th Street in Miami] from 3pm to midnight during Art Basel. He's even trying to entice some guest brewers to make it down, including Doug Dozark of Cycle Brewing.
Justin Clark, VP of Tampa's Cigar City Brewing, has faith (and some first hand knowledge of Jonathan's brewing practices) in what's to come out of this new Miami venture. "I know he is going to make some great beer that will fit in perfectly in this quickly growing Florida craft beer scene."
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