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Brewing has a long history in Tampa: cigar maker Vicente Ybor made Tampa the site of Florida's first commercial beer brewery, the Florida Brewing Company, founded in 1897 at the site of an ancient spring.

And the Tampa Bay area wasn’t the least bit interested in Prohibition.

Dinorah Prevost / WUSF Public Media

Chris Price stands in the backroom of Dissent Brewing in St. Petersburg. He’s among steel tanks full of beer lining the walls.

But instead of drinking beer, he’s dissecting it, trying to reduce the carbonation – the foamy bubbles you get when you pour one. To do that, he transfers a sample back and forth between a pitcher and a measuring cup over a sink.

Despite falling short on quarterly earnings expectations, Canadian-based Canopy Growth, the world's highest valued marijuana stock, skyrocketed on Wednesday after the maker of Corona beer invested $5 billion Canadian, which is nearly $4 billion U.S.

The giant injection of cash from Constellation Brands is the largest strategic investment in the cannabis market to date, and comes at a time when alcohol companies are making large ventures into the industry.

Mastry's Brewing Co.

The Tampa Bay area is becoming a hub for craft beer both statewide and nationally, with the highest density of breweries in Florida. This week on Florida Matters, host Robin Sussingham speaks with people who work in the industry about the craft beer phenomenon.


Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

On a research farm in southern Hillsborough County, Simon Bollin pulls a hops flower down off of a vine, crushes it, and takes a whiff.

“This one isn’t quite ripe yet, and it’s a little wet, so it smells more like green grass than it does beer,” he said. “Ideally, it could be spicy, it could be citrusy, it could be earthy, any number of things.”

Busch Gardens

People who visited Busch Gardens in Tampa over a decade ago might remember receiving free samples of beer.

That program was discontinued in 2009 after then-owner Anheuser-Busch sold the theme park and its sibling park, SeaWorld, to the Blackstone Group.

Taste of Science

So a scientist walks into a bar...and shares their knowledge over a beer.

Starting Monday, April 23, Tampa-area scientists will be at local breweries, sharing beer and conversation as part of the Taste of Science conference series.

A Senate panel has approved a measure allowing craft distillers to sell more spirits directly.  The idea is garnering support from unlikely sources.

USF Sarasota-Manatee

Florida, especially the Tampa Bay area, has turned into very fertile ground for aspiring beer brewers and up-and-coming microbreweries.

That spirit will be on display Saturday in Sarasota as an all-Florida craft beer festival takes over Nathan Benderson Park.

Sip the Sunshine will benefit the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Food & Beverage Science Program.

Florida State To Sell Beer At Baseball Games

Feb 1, 2016
Associated Press

Florida State University will sell beer at baseball games this season.

Pint of Science

Pour me another one, bartender...or is it pour me another one, doctor?

For the next three nights, scientists will take over bars in nine countries and 50 cities, including a trio of sold-out Tampa area locations, to discuss their work with the public over drinks.

"Pint of Science" was created four years ago in the United Kingdom, and brought over to the U.S. last year by USF Health Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology Research Associate Parmvir Bahia and her husband, Moffitt Cancer Center researcher David Basanta.

Two very different alcohol measures came before their final committee Wednesday.  But even though they began to converge, only one passed its final stop.

The Senate Commerce and Tourism committee took up the state’s growler ban Monday.  Measures doing away with the state’s restriction continue to march forward in both chambers of the Legislature.

After beer retailers and distributors challenged a legal exception that helps craft brewers open up tap rooms, two Florida senators put forward a measure doing away with the exception completely—in effect ensuring breweries can sell beer on-site.  But that original challenge hasn’t disappeared.

Sampling Science

Whether you're a craft brew aficionado or a chemical engineering buff - or both - "Sampling Science: The Engineering Behind Craft Beer" might be for you.

"A lot of engineers like craft beer," event co-creator, USF Chemical Engineering junior Anna Hayes, said. "We wanted to combine the science of the beer with the (craft beer) industry, and so we thought it best to bring local craft breweries together for a fund-raising event."

The event, which takes place Friday, February 20th at 6:30 p.m. at the USF Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center, will raise money for the university's chapters of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).

Florida House and Senate subcommittees heard testimony Wednesday from stakeholders in the state’s beer industry.  After failing twice, a bill to legalize a popular refillable bottle is up for a third try.

It seems there’s new trouble brewing for Florida’s small but growing craft beer industry.  The Florida Retail Federation is challenging a long-standing exception to the state’s licensing rules that allows a brewery to sell beer in on-site ‘tasting’ or ‘tap’ rooms.  But this isn’t the only attack the state’s rules have drawn.

Beer is bipartisan.  Really, it’s hard to imagine something more people can agree on.  But, unfortunately in Florida, beer is a political issue.

 A craft brewery on the Treasure Coast is fighting Florida's growler ban in federal court. The owners, along with a national legal group, filed a civil rights lawsuit Tuesday with the U.S. District Court in Fort Pierce.

Tampa: A 'Wet' Place in Prohibition Era

Sep 4, 2014
Tampa Bay History Center

Al Capone and other gangsters of the Roaring Twenties would not have been as notorious if it weren't for them making a buck off of America's drinking problem. The Prohibition era was the first time a Constitutional amendment limited freedoms, even if it was the freedom to drink a cold one.

The new exhibit at the Tampa Bay History Center is taking a look back at the 18th Amendment and the role Tampa played as one of the "wettest" areas of the country.

John Arthur / USF St. Petersburg

The U.S. is home to ubiquitous ads touting Miller Lite and Budweiser, not to mention a burgeoning microbrew industry. However, beer, in developing regions of the world, plays a much different role.

It's a role that John Arthur has been examining for years - one that the USF St. Petersburg associate professor of anthropology says may just change what we think about the development of mankind.


Florida Ranks Third in Beer Consumption

Jul 3, 2013
morguefile.com

If you're celebrating the Fourth of July with a beer in hand, you're not alone. A new ranking released today by the Beer Institute places Florida at number three nationwide in beer consumption.

California and Texas ranked higher.

Almost 13 million barrels of beer were shipped to Florida last year. Even though Florida might have chugged the third most barrels of beer, it ranked 34th in consumption per capita.