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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Sep. 10, 201412:00 PM EST

Ben Davis says Downtown site 'great location' for Intuition Ale Works brewery

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Ben Davis needs to brew more beer.

The founder of Intuition Ale Works is leasing the 36,000-square-foot single-story building at 929 E. Bay St., at the corner of A Philip Randolph Boulevard.

In addition to a larger brewing operation, the plan also includes a tap room, a retail sales area and a covered rooftop event space.

Davis will present his concept Thursday to the Office of Economic Development’s Downtown Development Review Board.

Established in 2010 at 720 King St. in Riverside, Intuition’s production capacity is about 7,000 barrels a year. Moving to Bay Street will allow Davis to increase annual production to at least 25,000 barrels.

The Bay Street site is adjacent to the Sports Complex. It offers more customer parking than is available in Riverside, which Davis said should increase tap room and package sales. It also has a loading dock to accommodate the wholesale side of the business.

“It’s a great location,” said Davis. “It’s close to the stadium and the baseball park and the arena.”

Davis plans to keep the brewery and tap room in Riverside open for the two years remaining on the lease, but the time is right to expand the operation. After scouting many locations, he decided to open his second brewery Downtown.

“We knew that eventually we would need more room and I want to be part of the revitalization of Downtown,” he said.

The King Street operation was set up in about three months from lease to tapping the first batch, Davis said, and the building along Bay Street won’t require much modification.

Pending site plan approval, city permits, engineering and interior design, Intuition should be open Downtown by late spring or early summer.

Davis said he ordered much of the custom-fabricated brewing equipment for the new facility in February, anticipating finding the expansion location. The equipment arrived two weeks ago and is in storage awaiting installation.

“The craft brewing industry is growing so fast, it’s hard for the manufacturers to keep up with the demand,” he said.

Intuition Ale Works products are sold by the glass and in quart and gallon growlers in the tap room. Three of the craft brewer’s more than 20 brands are canned and shipped for sale at Beer 30, Costco, Grassroots Natural Market, Publix Super Markets, Total Wine & More and Whole Foods.

Intuition on draft is distributed in Daytona, Deland, Gainesville, Lake City, Ormond, Tallahassee and Tampa.

[email protected]

@DRMaxDowntown

(904) 356-2466

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