BRADENTON -- The owners and developers of Darwin's are on track for opening their microbrew in time for next year's spring training games.
The owners of Darwin's are determined to renovate a nondescript, former printing building into quality architecture. Darwin's new home will be across the street from McKechnie Field on 17th Avenue West adjacent to the Village of the Arts in an area of Bradenton that is the focus of revitalization.
Chef Darwin Santa Maria, who founded Selva Grill in Sarasota, is one of the owners in the project.
Fawley Bryant was selected to take on the challenge and met repeatedly with the owners to define the image of the 6,000-square-foot facility. Various options were considered, including images from European beer gardens and industrial-style brewing facilities.
Finally, the team agreed to use historic Bradenton references such as the old City Pump House building in the 300 block of Sixth Avenue West. The owners and architects' industrial reference is fitting given the microbrewery is primarily a production and bottling facility. The retail tasting room and beer garden augments the production operation, allowing patrons to try the various brews.
To economize, only minimal exterior modifications were made. Fawley Bryant maintained as much of the existing building and mature oak trees as possible. A new brick and stucco façade combined with existing trees and fresh foliage create an intimate exterior beer garden.
The northwest corner is designed to be a large billboard to emphasize Darwin's brand and provide a visible identity from Ninth Street West. An increase in roof height is limited to the building entrance elevation to accommodate the tall, LED-illuminated brewing tanks while providing a better street presence. The exterior building finish along 17th Avenue utilizes brick, corrugated and painted metal panels with stucco accents and serves as the backdrop to a large and more public beer garden along 17th Avenue.
Darwin's is one of three microbreweries planned in downtown Bradenton, along with the pending openings this fall of Motorworks Brewing at 1014 Ninth St. W. in the Village of the Arts and The Little Giant Brewery, 301 Seventh St. E.