Florida craft beer lands awards in front of the world’s eyes

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Beer Bloggers Conference

Florida breweries have had a slew of awards and recognition in just the past few days, and the timing couldn’t have been better because the 2016 Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference was in town.

First the big one. In the recently concluded 2016 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Florida-based breweries took home a whopping 27 medals across 93 style categories. Based on the number of medals won, Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing was No. 3 in the Top 10 Breweries list, with Brew Bus Brewing, also of Tampa, not far behind at sixth.

You can see the complete list here.

Meanwhile, the uber-popular SeriousEats.com website recently concluded its Great American Beer Brawl 2016, in which readers could vote on what they felt was America’s greatest beer city. And guess who came out on top? That’s right, Tampa.

And not by just a few percentage points, but by a LOT. Final results: Tampa, 24.1%, followed by Portland, 9.4%; Denver, 7.9% and San Diego by 7.5%. Of course, the organizers were a bit skeptical that there may have been some manipulation involved. They posted this:

Surprising all of us, but certainly none of the Tampa residents who ​surely did not vote more than once or ​launch some sort of internet campaign to get all their friends to do likewise, it’s Tampa in a landslide!

I deny any knowledge.Cigar City Brewing photo by Gerard Walen

You can see the final results here.

Finally, but probably not finally because I likely forgot something, Southern Living Magazine listed Cigar City Brewing among the “South’s Best Breweries.” I can’t argue with that.

EDIT: As suspected, I had left out another honor for Florida’s craft beer community. Draft Magazine released its annual list of America’s Best Beer Bars, and in the Southern Region, three Florida pubs made the cut: Kickbacks Gastropub/Goozlepipe & Guttyworks in Jacksonville; Mr. Beerys in Sarasota; and Orlando’s Redlight Redlight.

#BBC16

From left, panelists Eric Criss of the Beer Industry of Florida; Joey Redner, founder of Cigar City Brewing, and Mark DeNote of FloridaBeerNews.com. On the far right is yours truly, Gerard Walen, moderator of

From left, panelists Eric Criss of the Beer Industry of Florida; Joey Redner, founder of Cigar City Brewing, and Mark DeNote of FloridaBeerNews.com. On the far right is yours truly, Gerard Walen, moderator of
“The Beer Industry in Tampa and Florida” discussion on the first day of the 2016 Beer Bloggers Conference. (Photo by Carol Dekkers).

Meanwhile, at the Marriott Tampa Waterside in downtown Tampa, about 150 or so beer bloggers, beer writers and beer industry folks were gathered together for the 2016 Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference, myself included.

Did we learn things? Yes! Did we drink lots of great beer? Yes! Did we learn about and explore the booming craft beer industry in the Tampa Bay area and Florida? Yes! Were some Pokemon captured? Yes! Did everyone’s liver survive? That remains to be seen.

The attendees have already started blogging and posting about the experience and the area. Rather than try to recount it all myself, I suggest that you search for the #BBC16 hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and look for links to the stories.

The word about our craft beer community will now be heralded far and wide. Breweries and taprooms should expect a bump in the number of visitors this tourist season.

Big props to all the sponsors, including Visit Tampa Bay, JJ Taylor Distributing Florida, CraftBeer.com, Visit St. Petersburg-Clearwater and many more. A special shoutout to the Marriott Tampa Waterside, which went above and beyond as hosts – and they really, really “get” craft beer.

The next Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference will take place Aug. 3-6 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

One of my big takeaways from the conference, however, is that people like to look at pictures. So the rest of this post will be only photos from the event.

Cheers!

I found this session to be a highlight, even though I'm not much of a sour beer fan. (Photo by Gerard Walen)

I found this session to be a highlight, even though I’m not much of a sour beer fan. (Photo by Gerard Walen)

 

Stan Hieronymus, a living legend in the beer world, gave the keynote speech on Saturday. (Photo by Gerard Walen)

Stan Hieronymus, a living legend in the beer world, gave the keynote speech on Saturday. (Photo by Gerard Walen)

 

Travis Kruger of Crooked Thumb Brewery in Safety Harbor pours at the Live Beer Blogging session on Saturday afternoon at the JJ Taylor warehouse. (Photo by Gerard Walen)

Travis Kruger of Crooked Thumb Brewery in Safety Harbor pours at the Live Beer Blogging session on Saturday afternoon at the JJ Taylor warehouse. (Photo by Gerard Walen)

 

CCB cheat sheet

Cigar City Brewing dug deep into the cellar for what they shared at Live Beer Blogging. (Photo by Gerard Walen)

 

Selfie with Troika Brodsky, executive director of the St. Louis Brewers Guild, and Elle Brodsky of the nonprofit Yoga Buzz. These crazy kids met at a Beer Bloggers Conference and tied the knot a few years later. (Photo by Gerard Walen)

Selfie with Troika Brodsky, executive director of the St. Louis Brewers Guild, and Elle Brodsky of the nonprofit Yoga Buzz. These crazy kids met at a Beer Bloggers Conference and tied the knot a few years later. (Photo by Gerard Walen)

 

No, I am THEIR groupie. To the left is Ashley Routson. Green Flash Brewing representative, author of

No, I am THEIR groupie. To the left is Ashley Routson. Green Flash Brewing representative, author of “The Beer Wench’s Guide to Beer” and aka The Beer Wench. On the right is Julia Herz, craft beer program director at the Brewers Association and University of South Florida alumnus. We’re tooling about town in the back of the Brew Bus. (photo by Carol Dekkers)

 

Post conference, Carla Jean Lauter, aka The Beer Babe, slams down one of her favorites after a brewery visit. (Photo by Gerard Walen, who is just kidding)

Post conference, Carla Jean Lauter, aka The Beer Babe, slams down one of her favorites after a brewery visit. (Photo by Gerard Walen, who is just kidding)

 

FLORIDA BREWERY MAP AND LIST

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The post Florida craft beer lands awards in front of the world’s eyes appeared first on Beer in Florida.