JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A local business is finding success in a troubled economy.
Surrounded by warehouses and businesses on a side street in Riverside lies one of Jacksonville's best kept secrets.
But whispers have been enough to spread the news of Bold City Brewery. Saturday, a crowd celebrated its second anniversary.
"It's worked and I don't know why it's worked, but it's worked," said Brewmaster Brian Miller. "We're just hanging on and letting it do its thing."
The microbrewery and tavern, a little hole in-the-wall place on Rosselle Street, was Miller's brainchild. After brewing from home, he decided to make a family business out of it.
"He asked me if I wanted to start a microbrewery and I didn't even drink beer back then!" said Susan Miller.
While her son handles the brewing, Susan Miller handles most everything else. She said they were the first craft brewery in town when they opened back in 2008.
"I don't think we realized the risk we were taking when we took it," Susan explained. "A lot of people thought we were crazy."
They started out small, making seven barrels a day, six days a week. Pretty soon, they couldn't keep up with demand. Their success was all through word of mouth, she said.
"Just like the Jaguars and their fans are their 12th man, the people of Jacksonville are our 12th man. They're the ones that have done our marketing, they've actually gotten us into the restaurants. We don't spend any money on marketing and they do it for us."
Their small-business success has inspired others to start their own breweries, said Miller, and there are several new ones getting up and running. But the Millers don't see it as competition.
"It's like a big family," she said. "Everybody helps everybody."
With a brewing system the business got six weeks ago, it is now cranking out 20 barrels a day, three to five days a week just trying to keep up with the customers.
"It's kind of cool," Brian Miller said. "Especially to see somebody with a smile on their face the first time they taste it because it's something you worked really hard on."
According to the Millers, Bold City brews are in about 150 bars and restaurants on the First Coast and they have a bottling line that they hope to have up and running by the end of the year.
First Coast News