Cigar City Brewing, Florida Cattlemen's Association are partnering to make a craft beer

Label courtesy Cigar City Brewing
Label courtesy Cigar City Brewing
Published Jun. 17, 2015

Florida cattle ranchers and Florida craft brewers have gotten cozy in the past couple years. Jim Strickland, past chairman of the Florida Cattlemen's Foundation, and the brewmasters at Ulele and 3 Daughters Brewing have entered into savvy collaborations, the spent grain from brewing going to nourish Strickland's cows; Strickland's beef going to nourish Ulele and 3 Daughters customers.

Today that collaboration was strengthened when Cigar City Brewing and the Florida Cattlemen's Foundation announced the development of Cow Boss Imperial Milk Stout, an authentic, Florida-sourced craft beer to debut next week in 22-ounce bottles and on draft all over the state. Cigar City Brewing will make a donation to the Florida Cattlemen's Foundation in support of its mission to preserve the history, heritage and ideals of Florida cattle producers.

The beer was aged over Florida cypress wood sourced and donated by Kempfer Cattle Company and Kempfer Sawmill. And Cow Boss is a nod to the cattlemen in other ways, says Wayne Wambles, brewmaster at Cigar City.

"I wanted to make a beer that not only included indigenous raw materials, like Florida cypress, but also an ingredient that tied the beer to the cattle as well. Lactose is a non-fermentable milk sugar that adds body and sweetness to the beer. Cypress can add a sponge cake to vanilla wafer-like character to the beer. I decided to make a beer that leaned towards a dessert offering at that point, which brought back memories of my grandmother's chocolate layer cake that she used to make me when I was a child."

The Cow Boss label was designed by cattle rancher and artist Sean Sexton of Vero Beach. Sexton manages a family-owned 700-acre cow-calf operation in Indian River County.

Greg Baker, chef-owner of the Refinery and Fodder & Shine in Tampa, has worked with Strickland Ranch beef since Fodder debuted. In support of the growing Florida brewer/Florida cattlemen collaboration, he has developed a beef and beer pairing dish: a peach and coffee braised beef shank to be paired with Cow Boss Imperial Milk Stout when it debuts next week.

Contact Laura Reiley at or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley on Twitter.