TAMPA, Fla. - Less than a year ago, Jay Dingman and his wife Colleen poured, and then sold, their first craft beer when they opened the Barley Mow Brewing Company in Largo.
"We feel very, very fortunate to have kind of caught this wave at a good time as it was starting to pick up some steam," said Dingman.
If craft brewing in the bay area was just picking up steam a year ago, its now barreling down the tracks at full speed. The 2nd annual Tampa Bay Beer Week is poised for even greater success than last year.
"It's a really exciting time; and it's great. It's nine days to kind of grow the awareness of all the great stuff that's happening with beer in this area," explained Dingman.
Beer week officially kicks off Saturday at Centennial Park in Ybor City, where Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will tap the firkin; which is the ceremonial first keg.
"This is not, you know, popping a top and sitting there at a football game. These are real beer connoisseurs. And there are people who will travel here to be a part of it, which puts heads in hotel rooms and people spending money at restaurants," said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
The ceremonial firkin is filled with a combination of select offerings from 13 craft breweries in the bay area; including Cigar City Brewing. People in their tasting room today say the bay area is now considered a major player in the craft brewing industry.
"Tampa is now a beer location; a craft beer location because they have so many great breweries and they just produce great products," said Mike Donlevy of Ozona.
Starting this weekend, you can find out for yourself.
For more information on events throughout Tampa Bay Beer Week, go to www.tampabaybeerweek.com .
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.