This month, Wynwood Brewing Co. founder Luis G. Brignoni marks the second anniversary of his craft production brewery, Miami’s first. He’s celebrating “excellent success, and a lot of growth,” which is accelerating since he and his staff began bottling two house beers in late August.
His dad, Luis C. Brignoni, now 63, came out of retirement to help his avid home-brewer son open the business and taproom close to the heart of the Wynwood Arts District. His preferred beer, naturally, is Pop’s Porter, a rich, roasty brew named for him. The other one being sold in six-packs of 12-ounce bottles at Total Wine, Whole Foods and Milo’s Markets locations in Broward and Miami-Dade counties is La Rubia Blonde.
Crowds come to the Wynwood taproom to sample their golden and pale ales, porters, barrel-aged strong ales and a large line of seasonal and specialty brews. On tap are about a dozen beers including Barnacle Belgian Pale Ale, Brown Nitro, Rickenbacker Pils, a Wynweizen, IPA and Original Sin Apple Cider. A half-dozen are available in 32- and 64-ounce growlers.
This time of year, some different brews are produced.
“We have two Oktoberfest beers coming out now. We have a nontraditional Imperial Märzen, which we dry hop with Citra hops, and then we have a traditional Oktoberfest style Märzen that’s coming out in about a month. They’re lagers,” said Luis G. Brignoni, who’s 30.
He and his brewmasters like to experiment a little.
“We do treatments in which we will use locally roasted coffee or locally grown fruits, but none that are widely distributed. Mostly we do them for the taproom or special events,” he said.
Brewing in the barrio
The Brignonis celebrated their opening in September 2013 with a pig roast and a week’s worth of neighborhood launch parties, and welcomed their first taproom customers a month later.
The partners operate a 15-barrel brewhouse ensconced in the heart of what their website calls their “beloved neighborhood,” aka “the Puerto Rican barrio” sustained for years by garment factories just north of downtown, until the 1990s, when the businesses moved out.
The younger Brignoni explained on his blog that several things compelled them to come to Wynwood. “We are truly passionate about our craft and felt that aligning ourselves with such a neighborhood would let folks know that this is very much a craft beer. … In addition this is a family-owned company, a Puerto Rican family. We felt we needed to come to this neighborhood and help create jobs for the local folks and support our community.”
A city-orchestrated development loan helped them establish the business.
The taproom fits right into the artsy area with its spray-paint bottle tap handles, a nod to prolific and talented graffiti artists in the area. They hired a local wood turner to make them.
Brignoni projects a good year “with [sales of] about 3,300 barrels; next year, we’re looking at probably 5,000 barrels.”
But he’ll take expansion slowly.
“We have a limited amount of production, so we’re going to make sure our customers down here are taken care of, and little by little we’ll make our way up the coast.”
Wynwood Brewing Company, 565 N.W. 24th St., Miami, FL 33127; wynwoodbrewing.com; tap room, 305-982-8732. Taproom open daily; hours: Tuesday-Saturday, noon-midnight; Sunday, Monday, noon-10 p.m. Also available for private parties.