The Native Brewing Company has been a long time stalwart of the craft beer scene in South Florida, even with the provenance of being a contract brewer. Beer geeks may know of the Danish twins who produce contract beer under the labels of Mikkeller and Evil Twin, so it should come that the term is not necessarily a bad moniker. But that distinction for Native Brewing Company will soon turn to that of joining the 'rest of 'em' by opening their own permanent facility in South Florida very soon.
The company has been known over the past decade and change for a few solid Florida-forward brews: Native Lager, The Eleven Brown Ale, Thunderhead Red amber ale, and Glades Pale Ale.
"In 1999, South Florida was just at the very beginning of this craft beer thing," Adam Fine, President of Native Brewing Company, explained in an interview with South Florida Beer Week. "A couple of breweries had recently opened up, and craft beer had just gotten going. And right when we were deciding to open Native, we saw some breweries in South Florida struggling. They had difficulties because the distribution channel at the time didn't understand how to build or sell a craft beer brand.
"So we took a step back and thought to ourselves, 'We can invest a lot into stainless steel and equipment, but if we don't have a way to sell this product effectively then we're going to be out of business quick.' It was at that point that we decided, 'Lets brew this at someone else's brewery, and we can spend the majority of our focus on getting the beer to market.'
So Fresh Beer came about as the distribution arm at essentially the same time as Native. This way, we were able to do the quality control and actually brew with the brewery, but we were also able to go hand sell the product bar-to-bar."
In the late 2000's, Fine sold Fresh Beer to Brown Distributing, staying on as 'Director of Hoperations', championing the craft beer mantra through South Florida.
As of last Friday, however, Fine will be moving on to create what he originally set out to do 15 years ago: start and run a physical brewery. It's rumored to be small scale and in the Fort Lauderdale area.
In a statement, Fine laid out his plan, while waxing poetic of his time with Fresh Beer and Brown. "While I have enjoyed this distribution ride for the past 15 years, I am going to take the next step in my own personal evolution and put my stamp on the local beer community right here in South Florida with the Native Brewing Company. Native has been along for the ride since the beginning and it is now time for me to devote my full attention and take the brand to the next level. Hopefully, I will get to see all of you out there at my brewery in the future. I think you all will know where to find me. And who knows...maybe you will be reading the Native Brewing Company newsletter in the near future."
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 Instagram.