Tampa, Florida - You gotta love it when a sip of beer comes with a shot of Tampa Bay history. The labels on the beers from Cigar City Brewing tell you about more than just what's in the bottle.
Why do they call it Cigar City Brewing?
Joey Redner loves Tampa. And Joey Redner loves beer.
So he brewed up a way to combine his two obsessions and create Cigar City Brewing.
"We have one mission statement. We have a very short company motto. It's 'Brew the beer that you want to drink,'" Redner said, standing beside two massive steel tanks that are part of the brewing process.
Redner's dream come true fills a converted warehouse near Tampa International Airport in West Tampa.
His team whips up wonderful stuff -- craft beers that showcase delicate flavors, delicious freshness, and snippets of Tampa Bay history.
"We extended that love for the city into a lot of our brands. Bolita, Maduro, Jai Alai. These are all things that resonate with Tampa's past, so we definitely wanted to carry that Tampa flag," Redner said.
Cigar City's best-selling beer is Jai Alai, named for a traditional Latin sport. Next on the list is Maduro, named for a type of cigar wrapper.
The brewery's newest gold medal winner is Minaret, which gets its name from the towers atop the University of Tampa. And Redner's favorite label story is for a beer they've named Jose Marti.
Jose Marti was Cuba's George Washington and William Shakespeare -- all rolled into one. And he spent plenty of time walking the streets of Tampa.
"You have this little, tiny platform: that beer label. You can say something," Redner explained. "If someone has the beer and then goes and decides to look up who Jose Marti was, hey, win-win for me."
The brewery itself? Its name comes from a nickname for the city he loves -- Tampa, the onetime "Cigar Capital of the World."
"People know we have great weather and beaches. But I don't think people know about the melting pot of people and cultures that took place here around the turn of the [20th] century," Redner said.
"I wanted to take that opportunity to kind of share a little bit, out into the rest of the country."
Why do they call it that? Now you know.
This Saturday, Cigar City is releasing a special brew. It's beer they only make once a year -- really dark stuff called Hunahpu's Imperial Stout.
To celebrate, they're having a festival called Hunahpu's Day at the brewery on Saturday, March 10th, starting at 11 a.m. The beer goes on sale at 3:30 p.m. People who love it say it's worth the wait!
You can find out more about the event at the Cigar City Brewing Hunahpu's Day website.
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Grayson Kamm, 10 News