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Local microbrewery wants to expand downtown

6:10 PM, Jul 18, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Intuition Ale Works Owner Ben Davis samples one of his freshly brewed Pale Ales in the company's tap room off King Street, "I can drink that," he says. A lot of other beer drinkers have said the same thing over the past two years Intuition Ale Works has been in business. So much so, Davis says he needs to expand.  "We just can't make enough beer"

In January, Intuition became the first mircobrewer in Florida to can beer. And now, the 14000 square foot location on the Westside is getting cramped.  Davis says he needs to ramp up his beer making to get his products in larger stores like Publix and Winn-Dixie.  Intuition has seen so much growth that Ben Davis says he expects to triple beer production this year compared to last from 2200 kegs to 6000.

Davis is looking to expand into downtown Jacksonville.  "We draw a lot of people who are visiting downtown or who are here on business to our tap room and I feel that somewhere downtown we would really help just to get more people down there and to get people who live there something to do." says Davis.

Recently Davis submitted a site plan to build a brewery at the former Shipyards location downtown. But Davis says last week City Council President Bill Bishop told him the proposed plan was a "no-go" since the city doesn't want to break up this property.

Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Jerry Mallot also says The Shipyards probably won't work.  "We are really hoping that Intuition would locate the brewery downtown. I think we agree The Shipyards is not the best property for that. It's Riverfront property. It's very valuable and terribly expensive," says Mallot.  

So now it's back to square one for Davis.  "I think our frustration  is that we want to be down there but we're finding a hard time finding a plan B."  Davis says he needs a building with high ceilings for the fermentation tanks and a loading dock for shipping and receiving.  He'll keep looking hoping that a solution to his growing problem will come into focus soon.

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