Home Magazine article Putting Down Roots – SRQIST :: SRQ Magazine article by Dylan Campbell

Putting Down Roots – SRQIST :: SRQ Magazine article by Dylan Campbell

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Sun King Brewery seeks to be an integral part of the community.

Photograph by Wyatt Kostygan.

There is a lesson to be learned from the mangroves that populate Florida’s Gulf Coast. Unlike most other flora, mangroves rely on aerial, aerial roots that allow the tree to breathe in loamy and marshy environments. These roots extend laterally, strengthening the trees against storms and providing a unique ecological habitat for flora and fauna. Although Clay Robinson, co-founder of the award-winning Sun King brewery, is new to Sarasota, he’s already taking the lesson in stride. On July 22, the Indianapolis-based brewery moved to Sarasota, opening its 5,000-square-foot brewery and taproom to the public. The location is the company’s first in Florida and offers a chance for Sun King to recapture a lost market. “We started distributing beer in Florida about five years ago,” says Robinson. “Our slow season in the Midwest happens when the weather gets colder, but we’ve seen people relate to our beer in Florida and sales increase during the winter. However, when the pandemic hit, all of our sales outside of Indiana completely dried up. While the beers found in grocery stores – national brands and local beers – have done well, customers and distributors have lost their taste for craft beers brewed outside the region.

PHOTOGRAPH BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.

The only way for Sun King to resurrect a battered market was to expand laterally and start a local brewery in Florida. Although Robinson and his team landed at a prime location – previously operated by JDub’s Brewing Company on 12th and Mango, a pre-existing facility near downtown – the path forward was not straightforward. “When COVID hit they pretty much shut down operations, turned the key and left. So when we took over in January 2022, everything was still there. We basically had to rebuild it from the inside out,” says Robinson. “It’s a bit like if you park a car for two years and then come back and turn it on, it may start, but once it’s running you’ll start noticing problems.” Robinson and his team relied on businesses in the community to bring their vision to life. “There’s a cabinet shop right across the street that was really great while we were building and actually helped us resurface some of our tables. We bought our countertops in the faucet room from a granite and marble store that’s two doors down,” says Robinson.

Photograph by Wyatt Kostygan.

PHOTOGRAPH BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.

Robinson and his team are also working to build philanthropic relationships throughout Sarasota. “We are in the process of hosting a pint night in our tap rooms, where a dollar from every pint sold will go to a local charity, starting with the Humane Society which is just a few blocks away. For Robinson, Sun King’s location in Sarasota is more than just a chance to recoup a lost market. This is an opportunity for Robinson, who is moving to Sarasota with his wife and two children, to put down roots. “I’m moving to Florida because I want to be part of it. I want to drive its growth and integrate into the community and learn more about the people we’ll be rubbing shoulders with,” Robinson says. “My daughter will start school in Sarasota in January. It’s a chance to start fresh. »