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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Apr. 4, 201805:23 AM EST

Startup craft brewery planned for the Rail Yard District

Owners seeks zoning exception for Keen Brewing Co. at 2100 Dennis St. north of McCoys Creek.
by: Scott Sailer Staff Writer

Keen Brewing Co., a startup craft brewery, is in the works north of McCoys Creek in the Rail Yard District.

Owners Joaquin “Joe” and Maryn Baez and friend Andrew Parks seek zoning approvals to open the brewery and taproom at 2100 Dennis St., west of Lemon Street. 

The brewery is named for Joe’s father, Joaquin, whose nickname was Keen.

Keen Brewing applied to the Jacksonville Planning Commission for a zoning exception to sell and serve alcoholic beverages for on- or off-premise consumption. It also requests an administrative deviation from the city’s Zoning Code to eliminate the required off-street parking.

Joe Baez said the building, constructed in 1952, previously was used by Ronco Machine Inc., which made the cardboard type cores for toilet paper rolls. 

The 20,000-square-foot building is more space than is needed for a taproom and brewery, so the owners are planning a game area with an indoor bocce ball court and pingpong tables.

The 20,000-square-foot space is larger than he needs, so he plans to include a game area with an indoor bocce ball court and pingpong tables. 

Half of the building, 10,000 square feet, would house the brewery production. Offices and labs would comprise 4,000 square feet of space; the taproom would need 3,000 square feet; and the remaining 3,000 square feet will be the game area. 

The tap and game room will be open Wednesday through Saturday and possibly Sunday. 

Office of Architecture and Design is the architectural firm developing the design documents.

Baez said he plans initially to employ four to six people in the taproom with one master brewer. He plans to add a brewing assistant and a cellerman who maintains the fermentation, cleans the production area and packages the beer.

Baez plans to open the taproom in late summer and serve other beers until his production area is running.

He said it takes 22 to 30 weeks for delivery of the custom brewing equipment from Deutsche Beverage Technology in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Keen Brewing owners plan to serve four core beers on tap, an IPA, Double IPA, New England IPA and a Saison, a Belgian/French style also known as “Farmhouse” beer. 

A new beer will be introduced every week for experimenting. 

Baez said that after brewing for a hobby for 20 years, he personally prefers Belgian beers due to their complexity, yeast flavor and variety.

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