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Craft Beer Week Q&A Craig Birkmaier, Head Brewer at Swamp Head

14 May


Well, American Craft Beer Week is right around the corner and I am smiling like a little kid waiting for Santa to bring the gifts. Only my gifts will be alcoholic and I will be buying them for myself. I interviewed head

Courtesy of Swamp Head Website

brewer of Swamp Head, Craig Birkmaier (who makes delicious IPA’s and Stouts)about his plans for craft beer week, expansion and craft beer in Florida.

I was going to talk to founder Luke Kemper as well, but he was off in the Bahamas getting hitched to longtime GF and Swamp Head bartender, Katie Allen.

I also snagged some pics when I was trespassing no one was looking *sneaky sneaky

So what can you say the importance of craft beer week is?

It’s an opportunity for brewers around the country to get people focused on what we’re doing. It gets people thinking.

Where does Florida fall into the craft beer mix?

We were late to the party, but things are starting to take off. The container law change in 2002 helped craft breweries begin.

And was Gainesville responsive to craft beer?

Our experience has been phenomenal because of people going in and asking for our product.People are willing to spend a little more money for a local, higher quality product.

Microbrewing is taking off – a lot has to do with the tasting rooms. They allow brewers to sell out of their establishment and put revenue back into the brewery. It’s helping us grow faster.

What kind of things are you doing for craft beer week?

We’re doing a people’s choice brew day Wednesday. We solicited requests for recipes. People can send them in online. We’re going to brew the best recipes on a pilot system. We’ll be here to talk to people and show them how it’s made.

So what’s next for Swamp Head?

We’re starting to look for a 30-barrel brewhouse. We have a 10-barrel right now. We brew 100 barrels a week, so we would brew 2 times a day, 5 days a week and more than triple the product. We have a couple of places we are looking for.

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