Microbrewing in Miami: FIU's New Research Brewery Built With Your SoBeWFF Dollars

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Mike Hampton, dean of the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University, confirmed that a new research microbrewery will be built at FIU's Biscayne Bay campus in North Miami Beach.

The new facility will replace the current classroom and laboratory used for HFT 3864 and 3864L -- Introduction to Brewing Science -- and will be operated by students in their quests to learn how to produce and market beer.

Taught by Barry H. Gump, the students will receive practical, hands-on research experience on the fine art of brewing, delving deep into the science of each ingredient and how it is used in crafting beer flavors.

Gump says they are building a "brewing science laboratory", not a microbrewery, to experiment and innovate in brewing classic beer styles as well as creating new ones.

"The new facilities...will allow us to brew larger batches of beer to support our Hospitality Luncheon program, and the several events at which we are invited to pour and talk about our beers," says Gump.

The brewing science class can only accommodate 30--35 students, becoming ever more popular as students receive overrides or are wait-listed.

"With the new brewing science laboratory there is the real possiblity of multiple laboratory sections, which will accommodate more students," says Gump. 

Now, the students make 10 gallons per week, but the new brewery will have the capacity for up to 45 gallons per week with three gravity-fed, single-tier brew sculptures that will be purchased from homebrew supplier, More Beer!.

Miami-based Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Florida's largest alcoholic drinks distributor, is collaborating with FIU on the new project, which is expected to cost up to $6 million and wil be completed in January of next year, said Hampton. The money comes from 11 years of South Beach Wine and Food Festival, which has thus far brought FIU over $14 million.

For now, the microbrewery and beer tastings will not be open to the public and only be available to Chaplin school students. However that will probably change, says David Rodriguez, co-founder of Miami homebrewers club BrewFIU.

"I have a sneaking suspicion that if we have several extra gallons of said beer," says Rodriguez, "we're not going to pour it down the drain."

Rodriguez founded BrewFIU with fellow Chaplin student Matt Weintraub and a few others to promote the Chaplin school and and for other students and amateurs to learn and continue their education on homebrewing, which he hopes in return will promote the art of craft brewing in South Florida.

"There's opportunity for more volume with the facility," says Rodriguez. "We'll be able to promote more events and craft brew in general. People are starting to realize that they don't want to drink flavored water."

In the absence of any regional breweries that Miami can call its own, residents will have to settle for expensive and mediocre Florida craft beers found just a bit north of Miami in neighboring counties, says Rodriguez. He notes that even though Hautey is marketed as local beer, it is actually brewed in South Carolina.

"Miami has a 40-50 mile radius of no breweries," says Rodriguez. "When people think they are drinking local beer, I hate to break it to them, but it's not."

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Florida International University, Biscayne Bay Campus

3000 NE 151st St., North Miami Beach, FL

Category: General

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17 comments
Nick
Nick

They were not the only ones to start the brew fiu club. No mention is made of the previous director of PR which was the integral member which booked events like brew at the zoo brew and bites and brew events in the miami science museum. Sadly all facts werw not checked for this article.

Joshua Tohen
Joshua Tohen

No offense but you all sound way to protective of the Brewing industry down here. There is really not much in South Florida, a few brew pubs and some breweries in other parts of the state. Compared to other major US cities that is nothing. 

This is great news as far as I am concerned, hopefully this will help push forward a bigger brewing scene in south florida. 

Skate12831
Skate12831

Finally... someone who can see the good in this article. I highly doubt that anyone was trying to "put down" other Florida breweries. I think it's great that brew FIU is doing this and I hope to try some of their beers soon.

John L.
John L.

"In the absence of any solid microbreweries that Miami can call its own, residents will have to settle for expensive and mediocre Florida craft beers found just a bit north of here. He notes that even though Hautey is marketed as local beer, it is actually brewed in South Carolina."I really appreciate that New Times is covering the developing beer scene down here, but I would hope that more research and knowledge would go into future pieces. The above statement is sadly misleading and does a great disservice to the many Florida brewers putting out award-winning product, including but not limited to Native Brewing, Florida Beer, Inlet Brewing, Holy Mackerel Brewing, Funky Buddha Brewery, Due South Brewing, and Cigar City Brewing. In fact, the later makes such "mediocre" and "overpriced" beer that it has earned gold medals three years in a row at the Great American Beer Festival (that's every year in its existence), and has been named one of the top ten breweries in the country by a number of prestigious institutions, including the U.S. Open Beer Championships. 

As a former staffer, I'm really glad to see the paper continuing to cover stories that are often marginalized in mainstream media. Florida's craft beer movement is one of those stories, though I hope in the future said coverage is executed with a bit more care. 

Continued Cheers,John Linn

Matt
Matt

Cigar City and Funky Buddah are the only ones that actually brew their own beer out of the ones you listed... everyone else has everything contract brewed out of Thomas Creek in South Carolina.

Not to mention I wouldn't consider a Tampa brewery, Cigar City, to be in "South Florida".

Reggie Ferry
Reggie Ferry

Tequesta Brewing makes some of the best beer in Florida. An hour and a half north of FIU. Is that one of the places that brews "expensive and mediocre" beer?   And Due South is opening soon in Boynton Beach.

Gerard
Gerard

There are about 50 breweries and brewpubs brewing on their premises in the state of Florida, not counting the ones that contract brew off-premises, but counting some that are owned by national chains.  The article also mentions neither Big Bear nor Brewzzi's, both of which brew on-premise in South Florida.  Also, Holy Mackerel (Gordash) has its beers contract-brewed at both Thomas Creek in S.C. and at Florida Beer Co. in Melbourne, which certainly brews its own beer in Florida and contract brews for other companies. Due South, which is not yet officially open but should be soon, will be brewing on premise in South Florida.

I agree with the other posters who say this story should have been better researched, or at least some of the statements put into perspective. The "no microbreweries" statement by the source should have been backed up with facts, rather than taking the statement at face value.

That said, this brewing program at FIU is fantastic, and should help to raise the profile of Florida's craft beer scene, which is a great thing.

My credentials: 15 years as a writer and editor at Florida newspapers, now freelancing and mostly writing about craft beer, especially in our state.

Momo
Momo

Another poorly researched article written by the good folks at short order!  Wohoo!

Jen Miller
Jen Miller

They seem to have forgotten that we have Titanic Restaurant and Brewery in Coral Gables, The Abby on South Beach, Schnebly Winery is now brewing, and Gravity Brew Bar which will be opening in Wynwood soon. Plus the growing market of great Florida craft beers such as Cigar City, Native, Holy Mackerel, Monk in the Trunk, Swamp Head, Green Room, Due South, 7th Sun, and more. I am so proud of FIU for working hard on this, but to say that Miami people have no craft beer options is misleading and takes away from these great breweries that they do have access too! 

Joshua Tohen
Joshua Tohen

There is a huge difference between a Brewpub and a Brewery, and I think all the beers you mentioned are brewed in other parts of Florida

Jen Miller
Jen Miller

Yes, there are differences between a brewpub and a brewery, but they have one common element. They brew beer! And you can get fresh local beer that is brewed right here in Miami, it just happens to be in the Gables. And yes, they do not distribute, but that doesn't make it anything less then what it is. Great craft beer in Miami! You don't have to distribute to be called a "brewery". 

And in response to the statement "In the absence of any solid microbreweries that Miami can call its own, residents will have to settle for expensive and mediocre Florida craft beers found just a bit north of here."

Floirda (not just Miami) Craft Beers are not expensive or mediocre! Just stop by your local Total, ABC, Crown, Whole Foods, or Publix, and pick up some of the great beers from the above mentioned breweries. Just because they are brewed in other parts of the state, does not make them any less Florida, craft, or local! 

So I am was responding to the "florida craft beers" comment, if the author had mentioned just Miami craft beer, that would have been different. But by saying just that, he is hurting a lot of these great breweries that work hard against larger and more well known brands that are already established in the market.

   

David Minsky
David Minsky

Said statement was missing attribution, and was corrected.

Michael
Michael

You summed that up brilliantly.

TheDude305
TheDude305

The Abbey contract brews, they don't make it in-house.  And Titanic doesn't distribute.

Bobob
Bobob

No local breweries? Wrong. Titanic and The Abbey are here and they are great. 

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