Green Bench Brewing is expanding its craft beer business in St. Petersburg by opening a second tasting room and cellar in a neighboring warehouse.
The craft brewery, which opened in the city's edge district almost three years ago, plans to use the adjacent 5,000-square-foot warehouse to expand its sour and barrel-aged saison beer program. Green Bench co-owners Steven Duffy and Nathan Stonecipher signed a long-term lease on the warehouse, located just east of the brewery's beer garden, a year and a half ago.
"Our initial thought is we don't have an opportunity to lease a warehouse directly adjacent to our property in downtown St. Petersburg very often," Duffy said. "At the time we didn't know what we were going to use it for."
They plan to break ground on a new cellar and brewing site in the warehouse before the end of the year, Stonecipher said, and open a second tasting room that will connect to Green Bench's existing beer garden within four to six months after that.
"For us, it's two fold. We wanted to create a unique environment for people to gather, similar to the tasting room we current have. But we also wanted to offer a space where people can be more part of the process of what we do here, and offer something unique and educational," Stonecipher said. "The community knows we focus on sour beers and this allows us to expand on that. We want to do more complex things with our program."
The new space isn't all that different from a wine cellar. The fermentation process for sour and saison craft beers requires temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees.
"Our sour program sets us a part from the craft beer scene in Tampa Bay," Stonecipher said. "The edge district in St. Pete has really grown since we've been here and we wanted to do something more with that warehouse than just it for storage."
Green Bench Brewing, located at 1133 Baum Ave N. in St. Pete, will hire additional staff for the expanding sour program, which includes brewing, production and packaging personnel, but also bartenders to staff the tasting room.
In April, another St. Petersburg brewery announced it would expand its operations in the area. 3 Daughters Brewing, located at 222 22nd St S. in St. Pete, is adding 100,000 square feet of new warehouse space to house six new fermenters and two additional tanks to boost its capacity.
Contact Justine Griffin at [email protected] Follow @SunBizGriffin.