Thanks to the water flowing beneath the county's footprint and the well-founded dedication of Maurice and Christina Ryman, the craft beer craze came to fruition in Hernando with the October opening of Marker 48 Brewing in Spring Hill.
The artisanal batch ale producer is serving up 16 styles of brew from what its label describes as "Mermaid water." Styles of beer can be based on the water utilized in each recipe, Christina pointed out.
"We have amazing water," Maurice said. "The (neutral) pH is ideal."
The Rymans converted a former auto repair garage at 12147 Cortez Blvd. into an inviting open-plan emporium where customers can observe the brewing tanks and apparatus while sitting at a gleaming bar, beer hall-style long tables or outdoors in a well-appointed beer garden. The spacious quarters overall offer seating for 120.
The couple gathered information and attraction ideas while visiting and tasting their way through craft beer establishments across the country over five years.
With a substantial home brew society in the county, the Rymans are predicting more craft breweries will establish here. Their travels revealed that one leads to two, and then to more, ultimately creating a tourist destination, which benefits them all.
Beth N. Gray, Times correspondent