Breaking News
More () »

Good brews & goodbyes: First female-owned brewery in Northeast Florida closing its doors

Crooked Rooster Brewery in Macclenny is closing after half a decade. Not due to the lack of customers, though.

MACCLENNY, Fla. — The end of the year brings an end for the first female-owned brewery in northeast Florida. It’s not a lack of business shutting Crooked Rooster’s doors. It’s the soaring cost of location.

Crooked Rooster Brewery sits empty before their 3 p.m. open. The emptiness will soon be 24/7.

“It’s sad in a way because it’s become that community spot," said Greg Sheppard. co-owner. "You know that everybody in here is like family almost.”

On Jan. 2, it’s out with the old when the open sign turns off.

“Sad," said Sarah Sheppard, owner. "I don’t think it’s really hit me yet because everything is still intact. Everything is still in place.”

Sarah and Greg Sheppard are the owners, but Sarah has 51 percent making this the first female-owned brewery in northeast Florida when they opened 5 years ago. 

“Of course (Greg) said craft beer in MacClenny? I don’t know Sarah," she recalled. "I said people seem to really, really like the adventure of trying craft beer.”

Five years later, the love for their brewery makes the loss even greater. A sign shows they were the Favorite Watering Hole in Baker County in 2021.

"I knew it was going to come. Just didn’t realize it was going to be at the double digit level it was," said Greg. He's talking about the 25% rent increase.

Something they couldn't afford.

Their closure got a write-up in the local paper next to the obituaries. The owners say they’re not taking it as a bad sign. They have hope.

“We have three properties to go look at tomorrow," said Greg. They want to relocate and are trying to stay in Baker County. 

Their glass is more than half full, with good friends, good times and now goodbyes.

“I probably won’t hit me until we close on Saturday," Sarah said. 

Jan. 1 is their last day open. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out