TAMPA — Cigar City Brewing is so close to Tampa International Airport you can see planes take off from the parking lot.
Now it's going to be even closer: Inside Airside C.
TIA will be the only airport in Florida with a working brewery on site. Cigar City plans to open a brew pub in March at the airside terminal, home to TIA's largest carrier, Southwest Airlines. It plans to brew one or two beers only available at the airport on a small-batch system.
"I'm extremely excited,'' said Cigar City owner Joey Redner, "because it's going to allow us to put our beers in front of people that might have missed us. We can be the last beer they're going to have before they leave.''
Cigar City is known for evoking local flavors and the history of Tampa, so the food at the pub will reflect that as well — Cuban and Spanish cuisine. While the beer will be brewed by Cigar City, the food will be made by Host International, the airport's primary concessionaire.
Some Cigar City beer already is available at certain bars at the airport, which has become one of the brewery's biggest accounts.
TIA is not the first Florida airport with a brewery on site. Shipyard Brewing Co. from Portland, Maine, once had a brew pub at Orlando International Airport. And Cigar City's vice president for marketing, Justin Clark, used to work there.
Tom Scherberger, Times staff writer