Beer Beer Beer

Pompano's the Holy Mackerel Project Crowdfunding Brewery Equipment, Interior Design

Bobby Gordash, founder of Holy Mackerel Beers and a South Florida craft beer original gangster, is bringing a new brewery to Pompano Beach and is seeking devotees who can help make the extra push for the location's final touches. 

The brewery is called the Holy Mackerel Project and it's located at 3260 NW 23rd Ave., roughly 300 feet away from Bangin' Banjo Brewing Company. 

Gordash already has the brewery, which is a roughly 3,000-square-foot facility that'll have a tasting room that takes up one-third of the place. Gordash describes the place as very rustic and industrial with a touch of retro. He's seeking graffiti artists to "mess up the walls" to give the interior an artsy feel. 

Gordash will house the brewing system in the actual production space, including the brew kettles and some five-barrel fermenters, all of which should be in next month. The GoFundMe page he set up seeks $40,000 to help pay for the decor and the brewing equipment. 

It's not begging for money, Gordash says. Rather, it's an investment opportunity. He offers a tiered contribution system ranging from $50-600, rewarding contributors with anything from a Holy Mackerel Project T-shirt, a bottle opener autographed by Bobby G. himself, and snifters to having a brew kettle named after you — plus all the swag. 

Crowdfunding for breweries is common. J. Wakefield Brewing Company in Miami was not only highly successful with this method, but it also broke a fundraising record

Gordash is simply trying to get his brewery up and running. It's his latest project with the Holy Mackerel brand, which he started in 2006 after winning a Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Project ten years earlier. Although the brand was local, the beer itself was contract-brewed in South Carolina. 

He sold the company in 2011 while remaining as a brewer and sales representative. He left two years later and went to Florida Beer Company only return to Holy Mackerel last January. Several months after his departure, the announcement was made that FBC was purchased by a group of companies in Trinidad and Tobago known as ANSA McAL, which brews the Carib Lager brand. 

Now, Gordash has a place of his own. "Something's finally happening," he says. "It's taken awhile."  

As of earlier this week, Gordash received a county permit and is still waiting for a city permit, which he expects to receive by the end of the week. He's still waiting on his state and federal brewer's permit, anticipating it will come sometime in the next few months. 

Nevertheless, Gordash hopes to begin construction by next week. He wants to have the tasting room open in three months. Until he gets the government go-ahead to start selling his own brew, he plans to host guest taps from any one of the dozens of breweries across South Florida and the rest of the state. 

In the meantime, Gordash recently hired Corey Brysman, formerly with Florida Beer Company, as a sales manager to take sales statewide, talk to the distributors, and pretty much do all the stuff he doesn't have time for. The brewery falls under the Holy Mackerel umbrella, Gordash says, with everything out of there being labeled as coming from the Holy Mackerel Project. 

When he does get the final permits, the floodgates will open. One of the first things Gordash will do is start developing an IPA recipe so he can get it to market. When he perfects the recipe, he'll send it up to Thomas Creek Brewery in South Carolina for mass production. 

And then there are the test batches, or the same "crazy" stuff Gordash says he's been brewing. For example, there's the wormwood stout that was once on tap at the Mack House in Davie. Other beers he wants to feature include a pecan porter and a number of IPAs. Also, he plans to have housemade cold-brewed nitro coffee and kombucha.  

Then, there's the goodies at the bar, like a hand pump for cask ale — which he'll have on tap all of the time — and the collaborations with other breweries. 

It's a vision that's come to fruition for Gordash. "It's an opportunity to do some of the other stuff I want to do," he says. 
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David Minsky is U.S. Navy veteran and Tulane graduate who has experience reporting on stories from California, South Florida, and the Deep South. He also won some journalism awards. Email or tweet David with story tips and ideas.
Contact: David Minsky