I don't know about you, but Irma is my new 4 letter curse word. We live in one of the few places that doesn't flood, but the winds really knocked us for a loop, or rather knocked 4 trees in a loop. But thankfully, we just have a mess to clean up, not trying to rebuild from scratch, like so many others are doing.
Some of our favorite breweries and beer joints were in the hardest hit areas. I checked in with them to find out how they faired with our favorite word letter curse word.
I made a trip to San Marco, which is heart breaking. So many people lost their belongings, cars, livelihood. Business after business is closed.
Beer:30 San Marco was in the middle of the flood zone. Jeff Burns estimates 20 inches of water made it into the store. Thankfully, packaged beer is not harmed by water, but dry wall and flooring is. Jeff says the cooler compressor was outside and damaged by the flood waters, but they quickly got the parts replaced. Drywall and new flooring will take a little longer. He says the plan is to open now but they'll shut down when work is being done inside. Keep an eye on social media and be patient if you see a closed sign on the door.
Jeff is also working with the San Marco Preservation Group to hold a fundraiser for those impacted by Irma in San Marco. There are a lot of people in San Marco who lost everything and don't have the means to replace it. He hopes they will have an event very soon in the back lot with food and drink to raise money for those in need. As soon as I know, I'll post on our Facebook page.
Around the corner from Beer:30, is Aardwolf Brewing. Preben Olsen said the main slab of the production room was above the flood zone. Their location meant that water and electric were back quickly and the longest issue was the lack of internet. In the brewery itself, two Belgian style beers were newly fermenting and did not have temperature control for about 24 hours. Preben feels pretty confident that this won't affect those batches. The remainder of the beer was past the point where temperature matters.
Overall, cleaning up outside the building was the biggest impact on them, Preben feels that they dodged a bullet in light of the damage surrounding them.
Down San Marco Boulevard is European Street Cafe, the San Marco store was hit very hard by Irma and has yet to reopen. The other 3 locations are open and employees from San Marco will be working at those locations for the foreseeable future. We saw lots of activity there the other day, mostly drying out and cleaning up.
Downtown Jacksonville got several blocks of water as well. Bold City Brewery Downtown and Intuition Ale Works on Bay Street were in the line of fire. For Intuition, it was mere inches from being catastrophic. Just minimal damage, clean up mostly, and the back parking lot became a pond during high tide for several days.
Before the storm, Intuition offered sand for people needing to fill sandbags. The project was a success, many people filled their bags. To help others affected, They are donating one dollar per beer sold through the Jaguars home opener to the United Way of NE FL's First Coast Relief Fund. This was a huge success, they raised 4 Thousand dollars for the fund!
Water did get inside Bold City Downtown, but about 36 hours after the storm, they had scrubbed it out and reopened. They put everything up on ground level up, so it was just a cleaning operation with no damage to anything, including the brewing equipment. The Production facility was undamaged.
At the Beach, everyone faired better than expected. The worst damage was at Southern Swells Brewing, when the sign fell into the patio. To get even, Southern Swells is tapping "Revenge on Irma" NE style Pale Ale on Friday September 22. One dollar from each pint sold, as long as it is on tap will be donated the the First Coast Relief Fund.
At Atlantic Beach Brewing , they stockpiled water for any post Irma needs. Thankfully it was not needed so that water is now becoming beer. They are holding a fundraiser on September 23 for a JFRD firefighter, Jacob Tomlinson, who lost everything in the storm when ironically his house burned. He was out protecting others at the time. There will be a silent auction, Michael Hosto of Board Up, is accepting donations for the auction. If you want to help, a Go Fund Me account has been opened for the Tomlinsons.
Over at Wicked Barley Brewing, karma was very good to them. In the three days prior to the storm, they gave away over two thousand gallons of water to anyone needing it. In return, Irma only submerged the dock and a bit of the beer garden with Goodsby Creek, but left the brewery high and dry. A few small trees were uprooted, but basically the doors opened mid week and life got back to normal.
In Riverside, Alewife only lost power and internet for a short period of time. They opened their doors up Tuesday and offered charging stations to those in need. They are working on a possible fundraiser in the near future for Riverside impacted areas, such as Memorial Park or The Cummer Museum Gardens. They are looking for the best way they can help.
Out in Baker County, Crooked Rooster Brewery was back in operation by mid week. They are collecting donations for those who lost everything in Macclenny and surrounding areas. You can drop off items, cleaning supplies, water, food etc at the Brewery.
In St Augustine, power outages affected everyone, but Ancient City's Downtown taproom was at ground zero for flooding. It took a few days of clean up and drying out, but they had reopened by Thursday. Meanwhile, the Brewhouse collected donations all week to send to the Keys.
It was a terrible week, with so many people affected. Our beer community is stepping up to help as they always do, as the First Coast always does. #FirstCoastSTRONG
If you want to know more about any fundraising efforts, check out our Facebook page, I will keep updates on all recovery efforts in the area.