The lost story of regional breweries in Florida

Current boom not first in state's history

The Jax Brewing Company during its final days. Courtesy of Ernie Oest via Bob Kay and Beercanhistory.com. (Ernie Oest, Bob Kay Beercanhistory.com)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A "regional brewery" can be described as one that distributes to particular regions on a smaller basis than the nationwide breweries many of us are familiar with today.

According to the Brewers Association, a regional craft brewery is one with an annual production level between 15,000 and 6 million barrels. Currently, the Florida Beer Company and Cigar City Brewing are the only regional craft breweries operating in Florida.

From 1890 until prohibition, regional and local breweries were the real playmakers in the American brewing industry.  Up until the late 1960s, Florida's cities were home to several established regional breweries. Here's a brief rise and fall story of six regional breweries that successfully quenched Florida's thirst for decades before finally succumbing to the pressures of competing  with large-scale national breweries.

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