Brew Bus, a Tampa-based brewery tour operator, today announced its purchase of Florida Avenue Brewing for an undisclosed sum.
First revealed last December, the deal includes the Florida Avenue brewery and tasting room in Seminole Heights, a space Brew Bus is spending about $250,000 to renovate. Upon completion, the location will also serve as a base camp for Brew Bus brewery tours in Tampa.
Brew Bus — which also makes its own line of beers under contact with Lakeland, Fla.-based Brew Hub — plans to expand availability of the Florida Avenue brands, including Florida Avenue Ale and Florida Avenue IPA, with the help of Brew Hub until the Seminole Heights facility opens in March.
Once open, Brew Bus will also begin producing a variety of its own labels, as well as those from Florida Avenue, at the renovated facility.
“The renovated brewery will allow Brew Bus to brew both the Brew Bus and Florida Avenue brands under one roof,” a statement read. “A rebrand including new logos, can designs and recipes for Florida Avenue is planned for the third quarter of 2016.”
In an interview with Brewbound, Anthony Derby, owner and co-founder of Brew Bus, said he also plans to continue his brewing arrangement with Brew Hub after the Seminole Heights facility opens.
“We love the relationship – the attention, the quality, the infrastructure they provide,” Derby said. “We want to only grow that going forward.”
Derby also plans to refocus Florida Avenue’s sales strategy — he recently cut ties with more than two-thirds of the company’s wholesalers.
Florida Avenue is now exclusively represented by five distributors covering Gulf-coast markets from Tampa to Naples, with plans to re-enter Miami and the Keys at a later date.
“That’s where we’ve seen about 80 percent of the sales for all of Florida Avenue,” he said.
Derby anticipates the addition of Florida Avenue’s brand will more than triple the amount of beer Brew Bus produced in 2015. Last year Brew Hub churned out nearly 2,000 barrels of Brew Bus-branded beers, while Florida Avenue brewed roughly 3,500 barrels. Pairing the 5,000 barrels of annual capacity at Florida Avenue’s facility with capacity available through Brew Hub, Derby projects both brands will make a combined 7,000 barrels in 2016.
“[For the] Florida Ave brand there’s probably a little more growth to be had,” Derby said. “I want to get [sales] back on the incline.