Make us your home page
Instagram

Big Storm Brewing boasts new Odessa taproom — and a trophy for best beer

Big Storm Brewing founder Mike Bishop, left, and business partner Leo Govoni in the brewery’s newest tap room.

Danielle Hauser | Special to the Times

Big Storm Brewing founder Mike Bishop, left, and business partner Leo Govoni in the brewery’s newest tap room.

ODESSA — Their friendship wasn't formed over a pint of beer, but on the football field many years ago.

Mike Bishop, founder of Big Storm Brewing Co., played football while attending Clearwater Central Catholic High School, and during his senior year in 2002 he had a new football coach, Leo Govoni. The two remained close over the years, and now Govoni and Bishop are business partners at Pasco County's first microbrewery.

Big Storm was established in 2012, after Bishop decided to turn his hobby and passion into a business. After graduating from the University of South Florida in 2006, he worked in finance, but found himself wanting to learn more about brewing beer.

"I was cleaning kegs over at Dunedin Brewery, while also working as a financial adviser," Bishop said. "I was fascinated with the process."

He said that as an unpaid volunteer, he gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about brewing beer.

When Bishop decided to start his own brewery, Big Storm seemed like a fitting name.

"It was a symbolic thing with Big Storm," he said. "At the time, I had left the corporate world and was getting into this."

Bishop also wanted to pay homage to Florida, and the name reminded him of watching lightning storms and how beautiful the sky looked after storms had passed.

"It's a great name, and it's so fun to market," Govoni said. "It translates to everything."

About a year after Bishop started Big Storm, he teamed with his old coach and longtime friend, Govoni.

"Leo really believed in the vision of the brewery and the concept and myself," Bishop said. "We partnered up and brought it to where it is now.

"It's very much a family business."

Big Storm produces a large variety of craft beers, but began with Wavemaker Amber Ale.

"You don't see many breweries producing a solid, quality amber ale," Bishop said. "When we first started out, we looked at the market, and we wanted to find what our niche was, and amber ale is what we like to drink."

In 2013, Colorado-based New Belgium Brewery entered the Florida market, and its amber ale, Fat Tire, provided competition for Wavemaker.

"Fat Tire came at us hard, but we prevailed," Bishop said. "Consumers preferred having that local touch."

Big Storm has won numerous awards for its beers, and this year won the Best Beer in Florida trophy at the 2016 Best Florida Beer Championship for its Oktoberfest Marzen Lager.

"We're pretty excited about it," Bishop said.

Since Big Storm began, its growth and success have led to the opening of two new taprooms. In January, a taproom opened in Clearwater, and a new Pasco taproom opened April 16.

"The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and we're getting new customers every day," CEO Jonathan Golden said.

The Pasco taproom is at 2330 Success Drive in Odessa and is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. For more information, visit bigstormbrewery.com.

Big Storm Brewing boasts new Odessa taproom — and a trophy for best beer 05/11/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 6:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Toxic' times: How repeal of Florida's tax on services reverberates, 30 years later

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Long before Hurricane Irma attacked Florida, the state faced a troubled fiscal future that the storm will only make worse.

    Robertson says the tax debate is now “toxic.”
  2. Fewer Tampa Bay homeowners are underwater on their mortgages

    Real Estate

    The percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners underwater on their mortgages continues to drop. In the second quarter of this year, 10.2 percent of borrowers had negative equity compared to nearly 15 percent in the same period a year ago, CoreLogic reported Thursday. Nationally, 5.4 percent of all mortgaged homes were …

    The percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners underwater on their mortgages  continues to drop. [Times file photo]
  3. 'What Happened'? Clinton memoir sold 300,000 copies in first week

    Blogs

    Despite being met with decidedly mixed reviews, What Happened, Hillary Clinton's new memoir about the 2016 presidential campaign, sold a whopping 300,000 copies in its first week.

    The new memoir by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sold 300,000 copies in its first week.
  4. After Irma topples tree, home sale may be gone with the wind

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — To house hunters searching online, the home for sale in St. Petersburg's Shore Acres neighborhood couldn't have looked more appealing — fully renovated and shaded by the leafy canopy of a magnificent ficus benjamini tree.

    Hurricane Irma's winds recently blew over a large ficus tree, left, in the yard of a home at 3601Alabama Ave NE, right, in Shore Acres which is owned by Brett Schroder who is trying to sell the house.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  5. Unemployment claims double in Florida after Hurricane Irma

    Business

    The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped by 23,000 last week to 259,000 as the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey began to fade.

    Homes destroyed by Hurricane Irma on Big Pine Key last week. Hurricane Irma continued to have an impact on the job market in Florida, where unemployment claims more than doubled from the previous week.
[The New York Times file photo]