Tequesta Brewing Co, a small production brewery that grew from a modest brewpub at the Corner Cafe and Brewery and then into its own microbrewery next door, has begun construction on an additional brewery at the corner of PGA Boulevard and Ellison Wilson in Palm Beach Gardens.
Co-owner and brewer Matt Webster posted a picture to his Facebook page showing the beginning stages of construction on the new digs. The 5,700-square-foot space with 15 3/4-foot ceilings on the corner of PGA Boulevard and Ellison Wilson Road is bigger than the 3,200-square-foot building with only 11-foot ceilings at their original location.
According to co-owner Fran Andrewlevich, construction should be done by December. Andrewlevich said that production at the original brewery has been maxed out for several years and that he and Webster have been planning to build an additional space. All it took was finding the right spot.
"We are still keeping the old space," he told New Times. "It's still business as usual here, and business couldn't be better.
"We're going to keep it as simple as we can. Just trying to keep to small."
Even so, within the first year, Andrewlevich hopes to double production. And in the next three years, he hopes to triple, possibly quadruple production.
The extra production capacity should also mean a bigger market not just within Palm Beach County but throughout the state as well. The brewery maintains accounts from Jacksonville Beach to Key West, with 75 percent of accounts in the county alone.
"In a perfect scenario, I'd like to do Palm Beach County, period," Andrewlevich said.
The expansion also means more fresh beer and more special releases, such as barrel-aged beer. Andrewlevich plans on getting a canning machine, but not right away. He hopes to have cans up and running by next spring. The company will also be seeking to fill several jobs at the new brewing space.
Back in February, Webster could not comment on the new space in PBG but told New Times that "there are a lot of hurdles to jump through." Such is the case with opening any new place of business, including a brewery.
But last September, the City of Palm Beach Gardens cleared the way in the ordinances, making it easier for breweries to establish themselves.
"Just because we don't have enough fun with one brewery... we've decided to start another. Demolition of the existing space has begun. Shit's getting real...," Webster posted to his account.
An application was filed last November by Tequesta to the Palm Beach Gardens Planning and Zoning Department seeking approval for a brewing space at the southwest corner of Federal Highway and PGA Boulevard. The application was filed under Twisted Trunk Microbrewery, which is a fictitious name created as a front for the brewery.
Even if some people think the U.S. market may be flooded with craft breweries, that is apparently not stopping existing ones from expanding into new territory.
According to data from the Brewer's Association, a trade group consisting of thousands of craft breweries in the United States, overall beer sales have declined by 1.9 percent in 2013 but saw a rise in craft beer sales by 17.2 percent, or 15,302,838 barrels. Sales of import beers also fell by 0.6 percent last year, but sales of export crafts increased by nearly 50 percent.