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First Coast Brews: What's new for 'Brew at the Zoo'

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens' Annual Brew at the Zoo has moved to May with a few changes
Credit: First Coast Brews/Stephanie Danley
Armed with our sampling mug, the First Coast Brews crew set out to conquer The Brew at the Zoo.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Last year, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens announced the postponement of the 2019 Brew at the Zoo by changing the date to May of this year. 

They promised a new and improved experience for attendees.

My first question was about the date change. For several years Brew at the Zoo was an October event, until 2016 when Hurricane Matthew decided to attend and since then the event has been held in November. 

Jennifer Paulk, Special Events Manager for the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens explains.

"Brew at the Zoo was moved to May to be on par with other zoos on the east coast, that hold similar events in May," she says. "By moving to this portion of the year, the event will benefit from longer daylight hours to accommodate a larger footprint with more animal viewing and encounters."

There will also be an improved VIP only section and also new areas offering more activities and games for participants. 

"We have a few tricks up our sleeves for fun new activations areas," Paulk adds.

 Think giant Jenga, cornhole and more, something brand new to the event. 

Credit: First Coast Brews/Stephanie Danley
The Brew at the Zoo event allows guest to walk through the gardens and sample beers, wines, food and this year samples from craft distilleries.

The date change will provide a better experience for daylight. In years past, walking from area to area was a very dark trip. The tents have been crowded into small areas, like the Trout River Statio that have lighting. This honestly has been my biggest beef with the layout, too dark and too crowded.

As in years past, there will be plenty of live entertainment with Firewater Tent Revival and Baba Caiman as two of the bands slated to perform. 

There also will be a variety of Restaurants, including The Reef, Cooper's Hawk Winery and Restaurant, local favorite Joseph's Pizza and Sonny's BBQ.  A full list of restaurants and bands will be published closer to the event.

Credit: PHOTO: Stephanie Danley
Hyperion Brewing Company's Alex McKeown talks to patrons at the Annual Brew at the Zoo

Four months out, we don't have a beer list yet, but all the major distributors are participating in the event that represent of the local favorite breweries and more. 

Expect more than 150 craft and import beers, spirits, wine and non-alcoholic beverages with unlimited sampling.

If you are interested, be aware tickets WILL sell out and will sell out FAST!

Here are the details:

Brew at the Zoo:

  • Friday, May, 15
  • 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. for General Admission, 6 p.m. entry for VIP.


  • VIP $125.00  
    VIP Designated Driver $75.00
  • General Admission (Non-Member) $75.00  
    General Admission (Member) $65.00
  • Designated Driver $45.00

On sale Wednesday, Jan 15 at 11 a.m. here.

Insider advice: if you want to experience VIP with the earlier entrance, a VIP area with exclusive food and drink options and a special souvenir tasting glass YOU MUST LOG ON AT 11 a.m. on Jan. 15 to buy tickets.

VIP will sell out, usually in hours. Expect the General Admission tickets to be gone by the weekend.

This is a charity event, proceeds benefit the care and feeding of the Zoo's 3,000+ animals and plants. 


Remember to keep up with all the latest beer events by checking out our monthly calendar. Plus follow First Coast Brews on FacebookTwitterand Instagram to stay up to date on all the latest events and beer news.

 Join our Facebook group, First Coast Brews Rants, Raves, and Reviews to share your opinions and favorites with other beer fans.

Credit: Stephanie Danley