48 minutes | Nov 5th 2020

Joey Redner of Cigar City Part One

Before Cigar City Brewing got its start in 2009, the beer scene in Florida was a shell of its current self. There were a couple dozen small brewpubs largely scattered in tourist areas around the state. And the quality of beer was, well, enough to drive you to buy Michelob Amber Bock and Yuengling. In the midst of all of the middling amber and brown ales served in local brewpubs, one local beer geek dreamed of something more. At the time, Joey Redner was writing a beer column for a local newspaper in Tampa. He had a passion for beer but his options were pretty limited on the gulf side of Florida. But as you will hear, with the support and encouragement of his father, Joe Redner, Joey took the blind leap into opening a small brewery in a state that didn’t seem to care about flavorful beer. The timing couldn’t have been better. Craft beer was continuing its march across the country and with so many craft beer loving northerners visiting Florida in the winter months, there seemed like a natural base to build on until the locals came around. Despite some initial reluctance, those locals did see the light. After opening, Joey had to send beer to New York and Philly to make sales. But pretty quickly, Cigar City retrenched in St Pete and Tampa and started to go deep in the local scene.

And Joey discovered a knack for capturing the attention, passion, and ultimately the dollars of craft beer geeks. The annual Hunahpu’s Day became a must attend event for beer geeks and helped influence the modern day ticker/trader movement.

In 2016, Redner faced a crossroads in determining how to manage the fast growing brewery’s future. His decision shocked many in the beer industry: he would sell the brewery to Oskar Blues Brewery and Fireman’s Capital. In this interview, Joey goes into great detail about the events leading up to the sale, including his unrequited flirtations with Anheuser-Busch, and what convinced him to sell.

To tell the story of the godfather of craft beer in Florida, now one of the nation’s most engaging beer scenes, we’re spreading it out over two episodes. In this first episode, we start with the early days of Cigar City and work our way up to just before the sale. In the next episode, we’ll talk in detail about the sale, how the brewery moved forward, and what the future holds for both Joey and Cigar City.

For more information on the Beer Edge Podcast, or to check out Beer Edge: The Newsletter for Beer Professionals, follow us on Twitter @thebeeredge and subscribe to our beer industry focused newsletter. There is more information, articles, and engaging content at Beer Edge.

Hosts: Andy Crouch
Guests: Joey Redner
Tags: beer, craft beer, Joey Redner, Cigar City Brewing, Florida beer
Sponsor: Arryved - Facebook: @arryved - Instagram: @arryved - Twitter: @arryved_pos
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