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Friday, November 11th 2011

Intuition Ales Coming to Cans!
Q & A with Owner/Brewer Ben Davis

Great news our can-loving Floridian friends! In 2012 you'll have plenty of canned craft brewed that you can call you're very own. Three different Florida breweries are making the move to cans in the coming months and by early next year you'll find beer store shelves stocked with as many as nine different brands!


One of those breweries making the move to cans is Intuition Ale Works. The Jacksonville brewery is celebrating its first anniversary next week so we thought it might be a good time to catch up with Intuition's Owner and Head Brewer, Ben Davis. Thanks for your time Ben. Cheers and Happy First Anniversary!

(CC) Can you tell us a little about Intuition Ale Works?

(BD) We brewed our first batch on October 8th of 2010 and produced over 1100 barrels our first year. The idea came about after I had moved back to Jacksonville in 2008. I had been living in Northern California since 2002 and was making wine under the label "Tallulah". I started the brand in 2003 but sold it in 2008 after my wife and I were expecting our first child and wanted to move back home to Jacksonville.

The idea to start Intuition came after some friends of mine suggest that I open a brewery in Jacksonville. I had home brewed in college and always loved beer even when making wine. The joke in the wine industry is it takes a lot of beer to make wine. I started taking classes at Siebel institute when I could and enrolled in the Diploma program in the fall of 2009. I completed the first 2 modules. I felt like my background in winemaking had really aided me in identifying characteristics in beers and how to create them in our own beer.

It took almost 2 years to find a location that was suitable for mix use of a taproom but also ight industrial. I signed a lease in May of 2010 and began construction in August of 2010. We opened are taproom November 20th of 2010.

Intuition Ale Works has 15 beers on tap in their tasting room

The concept behind the name Intuition is two fold. I go with my gut when it comes to the style of beer we make.I do not have a boss, accountant or marketing guy telling me what to brew. We brew what we like and feel that we can educate our consumer on the different styles we produce. We currently have 15 of our beers on tap in our tasting room.

"...I go with my gut when it comes
to the style of beer we make."

The other part of the name comes from one of my favorite songs but that is top secret!

Intuition's canning line literally arrived YESTERDAY!

(CC) Where is your canning line coming from?

(BD) We purchased a CASK 5-head automated line.


(CC) Which of your beers do you initially plan to can?

(BD) We plan on canning 3 brands, our Peoples Pale Ale, I-10 IPA and our Jon Boat Ale.


this canning line is hungry for some cans!


(CC) Who did the can designs? They look great!

(BD) Our cans were designed by Mad House out of Austin, Texas.


(CC) When can we expect to see cans of Intuition on the shelves?

(BD) We hope to have our cans available in January 2012 if not sooner.


"We hope to have our cans available
in January 2012 if not sooner."


(CC) Will you just be distributing locally at first? Any plans to extend beyond the Florida border?

(BD) We plan on staying local with the cans at first to keep up with the demand. We plan to expand into Gainesville, Tallahassee and Tampa as soon as possible.


(CC) As of right now there is not a single craft beer from the state of Florida that comes in a can. That will be changing soon as at LEAST three craft breweries in Florida are planning to can some of their beers in the next year (Intuition, Cigar City and Tampa Bay Brewing). Do you think it was just a matter of waiting until the market was ready? Is the market ready?

(BD) I think Florida has always been a little behind the trends in the Craft beer industry for a couple of reasons.

1 - We can not self distribute so that limits the channels of distribution for us initially. Therefore start-up costs for breweries are much larger in Florida because we have to be capable of making more beer to compensate for the lower margins. Also what if you open up in a market with limited distribution options or bad distributors. In Florida once you sign on with a distributor it takes an act of God to "divorce" them!


2 - The large Macro Breweries, and to some degree the distributors that represent them, would like us (Florida Craft breweries) to go away and will fight to keep us off of store shelves. Budweiser wholesalers are fighting the Florida Brewers Guild on the issue changing our stupid container sizes (a half gallon growler is illegal in Florida but a quart and gallon is not) Budweiser wholesalers are also challenging our right to have a taproom on-site and are also using a prohibition era law that prohibits the possession of a re-sealable "alcoholic" container.

But these same wholesalers are courting in-state and out of state Craft breweries. Their hypocrisy never ceases to amaze me.

I will get off my soap box...

I think the market is ready and the cans suit our lifestyle in Florida. Cans are perfect for the beach, around the pool, on golf courses,etc... There is no reason not to can our beers.

"I think the market is ready and the cans suit our lifestyle in Florida. Cans are perfect for the beach, around the pool, on golf courses,etc... There is no reason not to can our beers."

We just have to hammer the point that the beer will taste better out of the can and that cans are better for the environment. Our beers will not get light struck and are less prone to oxidation. Our distributor is very excited and so are the consumers here in Jax.


(CC) What is the best part about the craft brewing industry in Florida?

(BD) The Best part of being in the Craft brewing Industry is that we are all part of something new and growing. Our state is lacking in the number of breweries and to be one of the first in Jacksonville is really cool.

(CC) Where are some great places in Jacksonville to get a pint?

(BD) Our taproom of course! Also Mellow Mushroom, Kickbacks Gastro Pub, Engine 15, European Street Cafe, Bold City Brewery and Green Room Brewing in Jax Beach.

Posted by Russ