TAMPA — The Yuengling brewery has long offered tours to the public, but now 'America's Oldest Brewery' has plans to turn its Florida plant into a tourism hub that could include a beer garden and 150-room hotel.
Yuengling's Tampa campus halted its brewery tours last month, promising on its website "major improvements" in the future. Plans filed with the city of Tampa's zoning board this month give a look at what some of the additions could look like: a 140,000-square-foot hotel, 12,700-square-foot restaurant, museum, gift shop, microbrewery, tasting room, indoor/outdoor beer garden and a conference center.
"We are currently in the early stages of the zoning process and are exploring a variety of options for our Tampa campus, which could include any of the ideas listed on our application — from a brewpub, or tasting room, to a beer garden," sixth-generation family member Wendy Yuengling said in a statement.
The brewery's application to the city does not call for zoning changes to the factory at 11111 N 30th St., rather to land north and west of the massive production plant. The plans are meant to enhance the brewery tour experience into "a true destination experience," according to filings with the city.
Yuengling also wrote that its site plan is designed to be flexible, meaning though they are seeking approval for several uses, not every one may make it to the final plan.
Yuengling is based in Pottsville, Pa. Its Tampa facility is the only brewery outside of Pennsylvania. Yuengling took over the former Stroh Brewing Company plant in 1999 to increase its production. The complex is more than 350,000 square feet with a train track winding through the campus to haul in ingredients. The plant is about a mile from the University of South Florida, north of Busch Gardens.
In her statement, Wendy Yuengling said the decision to grow the Tampa campus is part of a goal "to become a more integral part" of Central Florida. Last year, the company made its local presence more prominent by taking over the naming rights of the arena at USF previously known as the Sun Dome.
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Beer-themed hotel and vacations seem to be a growing trend, especially among craft-beer lovers. Dogfish Head Brewery has a Dogfish Inn in Delaware, New Belgium Brewery has The Source Hotel in Denver and BrewDog debuted a $7.3 million hotel in Columbus, Ohio just last year.
Yuengling has a zoning hearing scheduled for Sept. 12. The company would also need two waivers from the city to begin construction: one, to reduce the number of loading docks and another to remove two large trees.
Contact Sara DiNatale at [email protected] Follow @sara_dinatale