Sneak Peak At Tampa’s New Tourist Destination: Yuengling Brewery

TAMPA, FL — A lynchpin in the ambitious revitalization of Tampa’s University Area, D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc. brewery broke ground Monday for the expansion and renovation of its brewery at 11111 N. 30th St. that includes the addition of a restaurant, concert pavilion and 15-story hotel.

Although plans for the expansion were put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, Yuengling CEO Wendy Yuengling said the Yuengling campus expansion, slated to open in early 2022, represents the company’s confidence in the area’s ability to attract tourism and its commitment to local craft beer markets.

Pottsville, Pennsylvania-based Yuengling, America’s oldest brewery founded in 1829, purchased the 350,000-square-foot brewery on 30th Street from the Stroh Brewing Co. in 1999. The Tampa brewery was built in 1958 by the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co., which Stroh acquired in 1982.

In 2013, Yuengling completed construction on a new brewhouse, increasing the brewery’s 475-barrel system to a 675-barrel system. Producing about 1.5 million barrels of beer a year, the Tampa brewery is the company’s largest production facility, which includes two breweries in Pottsville. The brewery also offered tours and a hospitality house where visitors could sample the brews.

But with 62 acres to work with, Yuengling had plans to transform the brewery into a major tourist attraction.

That opportunity presented itself when the University Area became a federally designated Opportunity Zone.

An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where private investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for capital gain tax incentives. Opportunity Zones were created under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law by President Donald J. Trump to stimulate economic development and job creation encouraging long-term investments in low-income neighborhoods.

Led by former Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe, the Tampa Innovation Partnership was formed to turn the 19-square-mile University Area into an Innovation District that’s been rebranded as “Uptown.”

The 19-square-mile area stretches east from Interstate 75 to Interstate 275 to the west, Bearss Avenue to the north and Busch Boulevard to the south includes the University of South Florida.

In includes the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Institute and Research Center, Busch Gardens and Adventure Island, the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital, AdventHealth Tampa hospital and University Square Mall, which is being transformed into an urban neighborhood development with a focus on academic, scientific and technology uses.

“Since purchasing the brewery in Tampa in 1999, we have been proud to be a member of the Greater Tampa Bay community,” said Yuengling, a sixth-generation family member of D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc.

“We continue to look for meaningful ways to show our support for this thriving area from our work with the University of South Florida’s Brewing Arts Program, which provides scholarships for veterans interested in pursuing brewing education, to our partnership at The Yuengling Center where we’ve been able to increase our support of the community over the years,” Yuengling said. “We consider Florida our second home, and we are excited to invest further in the Tampa community by offering Floridians and tourists an immersive experience into our brands, how our beers are made and our rich history as America’s Oldest Brewery.”

The Yuengling revitalization and expansion project will feature a:

  • State-of-the art pilot brewing system

  • Restaurant serving fresh, local cuisine

  • Private dining and conference rooms

  • Digital interactive history, artifacts and advertising memorabilia from Yuengling’s 191-year history as an American-owned and family-operated brewery

  • Outdoor recreation area and beer garden

  • Multi-use concert and entertainment pavilion

  • Expanded gift shop and coffee bar

  • On-site 15-story hotel

The new campus is being developed by Alliant Partners. The hotel is a venture between Alliant Partners and Capstone Development. Design and construction of the project are being managed by Alfonso Architects and Miller Brothers, respectively.

The design, featuring modern, open spaces and wood paneling, is intended to reflect Yuengling’s rich industrial history in America, said Carlos Alfonso, founding principal and CEO of Alliant Partners and Alfonso Architects.

“This project by the Yuengling family is a keystone for the continuing revitalization of the Innovation District and will complement the incredible growth and development of the University of South Florida, Moffitt Cancer Center and the rest of the growing Tampa Innovation Partnership District,” said Alfonso.

To lead the new Yuengling Tampa facility, Yuengling has hired Brent Wertz as its new vice president of hospitality. Wertz brings 30 years of experience in food and beverage, and is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. He will oversee the development and opening of the new Tampa campus.

“I am honored to lead the new Yuengling Tampa campus,” said Wertz. “I look forward to leveraging my 30 years of hospitality experience to build a world-class destination for America’s oldest brewery here in Tampa, by bridging the local Tampa culture with the unparalleled history of Yuengling.”

Also attending Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony were Sharpe, executive director of the Tampa Innovation Partnership, and Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the Tampa campus groundbreaking commemorates a strong year for Yuengling. The brewery released its new low-calorie, low-carb upscale light beer, FLIGHT by Yuengling, re-released its fan-favorite, Yuengling Hershey’s Chocolate Porter in bottles across its 22-state footprint, and announced plans for distribution further west through a long-term brewing partnership with Molson Coors.

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This article originally appeared on the Tampa Patch

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