DUNEDIN — Even more craft beer will come flowing from downtown this year following a major expansion of Dunedin House of Beer.
The business used a $1.25 million loan to buy a 6,000-square-foot warehouse at 325 Monroe St., behind its taproom at 927 Broadway, and a 10-barrel brewing system to be housed there. The new setup will allow brewers to produce six times more beer to soon be spread to other breweries throughout the Tampa Bay area and, eventually, the state.
"The main goal is to get distribution numbers up," said owner Andy Polce. "Come the end of this first part of the year, people will be seeing our beer everywhere."
Dunedin House of Beer opened in 2009, Polce says, after he and his neighbor, both home-brew hobbyists, decided they wanted to "bring craft beer to the masses." The business started as a taproom serving craft beers from other breweries, and by 2014, they were brewing their own as the second brew house in town.
Polce says the first, Dunedin Brewery, helped him get his business off the ground. In turn, he helped 7venth Sun Brewery when they opened five years ago.
"In other places people operate off of 'mine, mine, mine,' but in Dunedin we help each other," Polce said. "We really believe around there that high tide rises all ships."
Polce says he uses "gateway beers" — craft brews that are less bold, dark and hoppy but still hand-crafted in small batches — to introduce newcomers to the craft beer scene. But if his customers are set on domestic, brand-name beers, he serves those bottled, too.
"We want to expose people to craft beer in a positive way by getting them into a beer that they like, even if they are a traditional Bud(weiser), Mich(elob) or Coors drinker," he said. "We really believe there is something for everyone and every taste."
Soon, two more breweries will open downtown, bringing the city's total count to seven. But the demand for Dunedin House of Beer brews is still climbing, Polce says, in Dunedin and elsewhere.
Polce says brewers will use the new 10-barrel system to brew "core beers" or brews that are more popular and will therefore be more widely distributed. The existing two-barrel system will be used for experimental batches. The goal, Polce says, is to have 15 to 20 beers made by Dunedin House of Beer brewers that can be distributed to its franchises, Palm Harbor House of Beer and Gainesville House of Beer, as well as other local breweries statewide.
Polce says the loan will make his products "Dunedin-proof," meaning if the taproom business goes downhill here, he can still be successful selling to other drinking establishments in Florida.
"By having our beer elsewhere in the state, we can be insulated," he said. "We don't have to be dependent to any one place."
Contact Megan Reeves at [email protected] or (727) 445-4153. Follow @mreevs.