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Pensacola Bay Brewery

Pensacola Bay Brewery open

Pensacola Bay Brewery opens

Carlton Proctor •

Eighteen months ago, two friends from Pensacola were enjoying a couple of beers in a New Orleans bar when the conversation turned to “» well, beer.

Elliott Eckland and Mark Robertson have long shared a passion for home brewing, and in that Crescent City bar they concluded it was time to take the big leap into owning their own brewery.

A year and a half later, the two buddies have made their dream come true.

In a refurbished building overlooking Seville Square, Pensacola Bay Brewery is officially up and running, making beer and ale by the barrel.

But hold on a minute beer lovers: Before you belly-up to the bar, there’s a catch.

“We are not a bar,” Eckland said. “We’re a brewery where people can sample the beer and take some home in a growler (a half-gallon glass jug used to transport draft beer), but we cannot serve beer like a bar.”

City zoning regulations prevent Pensacola Bay Brewery from serving their ales and beers, but Eckland and Robertson have not let that dampen their spirits.

They’ve signed a contract with local distributor Lewis Bear Co. to place their products in some 20 local retail establishments. And they have big plans for growing and marketing their brewery business, including eventually hosting a true Octoberfest in Seville Square.

For now, the two are content to take a breather from the months of work it took to get the brewery up and running. “We found the equipment in Iowa,” Robertson said, “disassembled it, and had it trucked to Pensacola. We reassembled it ourselves. That was the hardest part.

Pensacola Bay Brewery“It was important to us to do it ourselves. It’s been eight months of very hard work.”

All that hard work has been focused on producing an impressive variety of beers and ales.

With a current annual capacity of 2,500 barrels, or about 77,500 gallons a year, the brewery’s portfolio includes an India pale ale, dopplebock, amber ale, extra special bitter, extra pale ale, pilsner, port and a wheat beer.

Eckland said the brewery has the capacity to triple production to about 7,500 barrels a year. An award-winning home brewer, Robertson is the brew master, while Eckland is handling the marketing and sales end of the business.

Robertson said brewing beers and ales is as much art as it is science, and it’s a craft he’s been perfecting for decades. “There really is no book written about how to brew beer on this small scale,” Robertson said. “So you have to have the skills and science going into it to be successful and make fine beers and ales.”

And both men say they couldn’t have picked a better place to launch their brewery.
“We have the perfect water here for brewing beer,” Robertson said. “It has just the right pH and mineral content.”

source: | Pensacola Business | Pensacola News Journal

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