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"Ones" to Watch: Atlantic Beach Brewing and Hyperion Brewing, Jax, One-Year Anniversaries in May

April 11, 2018: It's been just about a year, and two Jacksonville-area breweries have gone from planning to opening to operating and getting over that first-year hurdle. As they celebrate their one-year anniversaries in May and head into Year Two, catch up with the "former" newbies, Atlantic Beach Brewing Company ("ABBC") and Hyperion Brewing Company ("HBC") on what that first year's been like for each of them.



That distinctive shark loomed over the bar when Atlantic Beach Brewing Company hit the shores of Jax on opening day 2017. With the motto of "Aggressively Pursuing Craft," co-owners Spencer Horn, Linda Horn and Chuck Horn and Brewmaster Rory Malloy have expanded the draft list, released several specialty bottles, and began canning and distributing three core beers ahead of schedule.








Over in the Springfield neighborhood of Jax, Hyperion Brewing introduced the community to its "Bold, Rebellious Beer" concept, with constantly-rotating taps. Through the course of the year, owner Alex McKeown and the brewery staff have engaged the local community in a number of hosted events, along with tapping over 200 new beer recipes. Listening to its customers, Hyperion will bring several of the most popular beers on board on a regular basis in Year Two. 

So, how's brewery life been treating you? Let's find out what they had to say.



In a word, describe Year One of your brewery:
ABBC: Enlightening
HBC: Rollercoaster

In a word, describe your what your personal experience in the first year has been like:
ABBC: Fun/intense at the same time (Ok, that's two words, but we'll go with it)
HBC: Surreal

How has the reality of the brewery aligned with your expectations and visions during the planning stages?
ABBC: More intense and exciting. It's a 7-day a week, 15-hour-a day endeavor. We're fortunate to work with people who thrive on getting the job done no matter what. The dedication of the team is amazing, and we would not be where we are today without the front and back of the House working together.
HBC: The concept of "flights v. flagships" has been nothing short of fun. It's been exhilarating, frustrating and often highly experimental, with over 200 new recipes. Becoming the neighborhood bar we hoped to be for Springfield has come true. We have a loyal and engaged audience that continues to support our growth.

Have there been any surprises or "I wish I would have thought of that" moments over the first year?
ABBC:  Yes, absolutely! We are constantly learning new things about this industry that surprise and teach us for the future. When we realize we could have done something differently, we tell each other to remember it for next time, because, there's always a next time!
HBC: Of course. We have established relationships in the city, and they often kick butt, take names, etc. Instead of thinking "Why didn't I think of that," we call a business and strike up a partnership, like Social Grounds Coffee: we saw the coffee shop had a charcoal-infused lavender latte, and thought we had to get charcoal into our beer! Matt (head brewer) might think some of these wacky ideas are crazy.

What have you learned most about the brewery business after being open a year?
ABBC: To be more patient. There's always a solution to a problem, and better ways to communicate.
HBC: If something can break, it will. And, the thing you didn't think would break... will. 


Hyperion Brewing Owner Alex McKeown, with
Brewer Matt Fletcher in the brewhouse
(photo by Linda Johnson)

The two breweries collaborated on a beer (Squid Ink Gose), offered at separate Asian-themed beer dinners in April. How did that come about?
ABBC: We started talking about a collaboration while brewing the "SouRED Society" at Intuition Ale Works. Alex (HBC) had been working with Sarah Copeland of Hottie Dawgs, and we thought it would be a good fit for a mutual beer-food collaboration. Squid Ink was an off-the-cuff idea that seemed to stick; it screamed Gose, being dark and briny. We brewed the beer at each location. It was a fun experience, and Rory and Matt are already talking about what's next. We're talking to other breweries and retailers about more collaborations, too. 
HBC: Sarah, owner of Hottie Dawgs, had produced beer pairing dinners with ABBC, and we connected. With the success of the ABBC dinners, we decided to collaborate with Hottie Dawgs and ABBC together. Matt and Rory sourced a few ingredients of their own and did a brew day at each brewery.



Co-Owner Spencer Horn with Brewmaster Rory Malloy;
with pallets of Mayport Red in the brewhouse
(photo by Linda Johnson)

And, a couple of individual brewery insights:
For ABBC: 
The brewery offers a wide variety of beer styles, on draft and through the bottle releases. What types of things do you consider when creating those?
ABBC: We look at what type of beer hasn't been on the tap room board, and we constantly ask our customers what they'd like to drink. One out of every ten are considered for release outside of the tap room. 

ABBC currently distributes three "core" beers, Two Minutes Session IPA, Mayport Red, and Duality IPA, in cans and on draft. Where does the distribution reach?
ABBC: We're as far south as New Smyrna Beach and to DeLand. We just signed a distribution agreement for Orlando and the Space Coast through Melbourne, starting in June. 

For HBC:
Hyperion is located in a community-focused area of Jax (Springfield) - How has your relationship with the community grown over the year?
HBC: We have become engrained in the local neighborhood. We incorporate local ingredients into our beers, for example, Sarah Jowers Bourbon Lime, for which a neighbor donated limes from her backyard, and a partnership with Sustainable Springfield and Herb & Core. We participate in Springfield events, such as Springfield Tour of Homes and PorchFest. We've met some of our philanthropic goals by hosting charity events and fundraisers, including a Breast Cancer Awareness event, Hope at Hand Fundraiser, City Year Spelling Beer, and and Autism Awareness event in April.

What is Hyperion's "Helios Brewer's Experience" program all about?
HBC: It's the opportunity to be a brewer for a day. Guests can choose from an assortment of recipes/styles or create a custom beer. Each Experience includes Crowlers to take home after the brew is completed, and there's a Release Party in the tap toom.

And, last but not least, how about a little inside info?
Are there any major plans in the works for Year Two that you can let us in on?
ABBC: We'll be expanding our distribution footprint. We're moving down the coastline with cans and kegs. 
HBC: We'll finally announce our first three core beers. It's not sustainable to brew only one-offs, and those who want to see their favorite beer return deserve their voices to be heard. We'll release our three core beers during the Anniversary Weekend. The first one is our Peanut Butter Porter. We have collected data over the past year on how quickly they consumed a particular beer, what the Untappd ratings have been, and how customers have rated our beers in the tap room. All of these pointed to our Peanut Butter Porter as the hands-down top contender. Announcements of the next two core beers will follow shortly, along with our first three seasonal beers. In Year Two, guests can expect us to continue rotating beers, but at a slower pace. We'll have three cores, three seasonal cores, and seven one-offs on tap. 

Here's another note about that Peanut Butter Porter: When it was released in June 2017, it sold out in three days. Hyperion Brewing is looking for your help in naming the beer, too. Take a try at creating a unique name for the beer, and enter your suggestion HERE.

What have been the most fun parts of the brewery business?
ABBC: Events and festivals, getting to interact directly with our fanbase! Other breweries were so generous with their time and experience prior to our start-up, and that trend continued after we opened. The craft beer industry as a whole is much friendlier, even in a competitve way, than other industries. 
HBC: Taking an idea from its concept, implementing it into our brewery (new beer, event, partnership) and watching the consumer respond. Trust me, plenty of our ideas have been busts, but we're not afraid of failure. Those ideas that have turned into home runs feel amazing and thrilling, while the failures have taught us the most, and steered us in new directions. We look forward to everything in Year Two that not only make us a better brewery, but that also put Jax on the map as the spot to be for trying the coolest new thing in craft beer. 

Now, how about those big One-Year Anniversary parties planned for May 2018?

ABBC hosts its Anniversary Bash Saturday, May 5, beginning at noon. Festivities include a new bottle release of ABBC's 98th Street Imperial Stout, aged in bourbon barrels for a year. And, look for another "surprise" barrel-aged release, along with a collaboration brew and various treatments. Hottie Dawgs features specialty dogs and cupcakes. Live music, raffles, games and prizes throughout the day. And, it's also Cinco de Mayo, so be ready to party! Atlantic Beach Brewing Company is located at 725 Atlantic Blvd., Atlantic Beach.

HBC takes the party weekend-style, covering May 18-20. Opening at 4pm on Friday, May 18, and at noon on Saturday and Sunday, the weekend features new beer releases, food trucks and live music. Waiting for the suspense of the announcement of the core beers? That's at 12:30pm on Saturday. Hyperion Brewing Company is located at 1740 N. Main St., Jacksonville (Springfield). 

Thanks to Atlantic Beach Brewing Company and Hyperion Brewing Company for these awesome insights! Congratulations to each! And, get ready to party like ...  well, you're turning one .... 

That's a wrap this time around, but we'll see you around Florida Somewhere, and around Jax Somewhere, with a beer !

Cheers,
Til next time,





Linda




Linda Johnson,
Certified Cicerone®
www.brewnymph.com

(all photos by Linda Johnson)



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