Two new microbreweries hope to open this fall in Bradenton

jtate@bradenton.comMay 15, 2013 

BRADENTON -- Two Breweries slated to open in August hope the city approves permits quickly so they can start malting, milling, fermenting and filtering.

Michael Wagner, owner of The Little Giant Brewery, hopes to get approval for his plans to open a micro brewery at 301 Seventh St. East. He will go in front of the Bradenton Planning Commission on Wednesday -- and he isn't going alone.

He encouraged Facebook friends and readers of the blog that bears the same name as his business, to come and support him while he goes in front of the commission at 2 p.m. He even posted a sign on the front door of his location inviting people to come.

"We asked anyone who's civically minded to support their favorite brewery," said Wagner. He said that his brewery has garnered much community support over the years.

Wagner hopes the commission will approve his special use permit for light manufacturing as well as lounge use. He has also requested a permit for an alcohol beverage license.

His 5,400-square-foot location will feature a beer garden, tasting room, brewing tours and beer education classes. Wagner said he plans to teach flavor perception and flavor analysis of craft beers.

"I want to open people's eyes to a whole new appreciation for beer," said Wagner.

He is a former teacher at the Gulf Coast Marine Institute, an alternative school for grades 6-12, which was formerly housed at the location he hopes will one day be home to his own beer. In 2000, he started brewing beer full-time.

"I knew I wanted to start a brewery here. I like the area," said Wagner. "It's a good neighborhood and close to Riverwalk."

Motorworks Brewing is

one of the new craft beer locations under construction. The brewery's vice president of marketing and community relations, Ann Altman, said they are excited about opening, but they did get ahead of themselves with their timeline.

"We thought things would happen faster, but we understand things take time," she said.

The owners, Denise and Frank Tschida, hoped to have at least the wine bar and tap rooms open by the end of this month, but permitting fell through. They are awaiting approval from city officials for phase one of their master plan, which includes the build-out for the tap rooms and wine bar. Complete plans were submitted Tuesday.

Altman said the brewery is in the midst of pre-construction inside the location.

"We are continuing to do what we are permitted to do," said Altman.

When construction is complete, Motorworks Brewing will feature a beer garden, tap room, wine bar and will offer tours of their brewing facility. Patrons will also be able to purchase brewery merchandise.

When riding by their location, which borders the Village of the Arts at 1014 Ninth St. West, passersby can see the changes made to the building. They've painted, put up fences, and installed new windows.

"We have products ordered and sitting in storage," said Altman. "We are excited."

Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton, said that having two micro breweries in a city the size of Bradenton is a sign of distinction.

"These are the kinds of attractions that add diversity to the portfolio for tourism and visitors," she said.

She mentioned that there's a growing trend of people looking to visit micro breweries and these two locations will attract them to Bradenton.

"This is another piece that will be attractive not only to visitors and tourists, but it brings in people of the creative class, young professionals, technologists and entrepreneurs," said Isham.

Isham also said there is a growing interest from businesses owners and entrepreneurs who are interested in coming to Bradenton.

"When you put together all the pieces with the South Florida Museum, the performing arts center, McKechnie Field and Riverwalk, the buzz is building," she said.

Janey Tate, City of Bradenton and Palmetto Reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter @Janey_Tate.

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