Craft beer fans descended on Oakland Park, Fla., this past weekend to celebrate the grand opening of Funky Buddha Brewery’s new full-scale production brewery and tap room. The facility instantly became South Florida’s largest capacity brewery, offering a spacious bar with more than two dozen tap lines, live music, brewery tours, growlers to-go and much, much more. According to reports, more than 4,000 people turned out Saturday for the grand opening, and those thirsty thousands drank almost all the beer, including special releases like the Blueberry Cobbler Ale and Nib Smuggler Chocolate Porter.
The intention now is to mass-produce and distribute kegs, first to restaurants around the state, then the Southeast. Bottles and six-packs may follow one day, but for now, drinkers can sample the Buddha’s beers in the brewery’s tap room, which is the size of a high school gym and looks almost the same. Simple black industrial lights hang from a high ceiling, and five flat-screen TVs list the beers on offer. Rows of growlers are etched with the silhouette of a meditating Buddha, and dozens of glass goblets bear the names of those who pay $50 annually to be part of the brewery’s Snifter Club. In a side room, people can play bocce ball [CBB Editor’s Note: Awesome] and cornhole. Viewable through eight-foot-by-four-foot windows from the tap room are the stars of the operation: four stainless-steel fermenting vats.
Inside the facility is a brand new 30-barrel brewhouse, proudly built in North America. This hulking system will initially push out around 175,000 gallons of draught beer per year; the space’s 18,000-sq ft floor plan will provide room for further expansion, allowing for up to five times that quantity, which can be a key for growing breweries. Future plans include a packaging line for bottles and/or cans to service bars, restaurants and retailers statewide.
The new brewery will allow for sudsy stalwarts such as Hop Gun IPA and the delectable Maple Bacon Coffee Porter — which currently ranks in the Top 200 Beers in the World according to beer ratings website Beer Advocate — to be produced on an exponentially larger scale, thus leading to the statewide distribution. The new facility is a far cry from the Funky Buddha Brewery and Lounge, which was off of North Federal Highway in Boca Raton, Fla., located in a small strip mall where patrons could lounge on couches, smoke hookahs, listen to local bands, enjoy excellent eats and imbibe in excellent craft beer.
We quote the Funky Buddha Brewery owner from an article we ran in late April: “We’re extremely excited that this brewery will allow us to share our passion for craft beer with a larger audience,” said Head Brewer and Founder Ryan Sentz. “We could not have gotten here without the support of the Funky Buddha family and the entire brewing community.”