ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — As many struggle due to the pandemic, the opening of a St. Pete brewery illustrates Tampa Bay’s business resiliency.
After retiring from a career in insurance, Kevin Milkey took a risk, opening Grand Central Brewhouse in December.
“Definitely been a dream come true to finally open,” said Milkey.
Grand Central Brewhouse, located at 2340 Central Avenue, is an expansive indoor/outdoor space that offers a beer garden, games, and taproom.
The new business in St. Pete’s Grand Central District created two-dozen jobs.
“We can do this safely, we can do this responsibly without making every Friday night a super spreader event,” said Sean Nordquist, Executive Director of the Florida Brewers Guild.
Nordquist said the pandemic resulted in only a handful of breweries shutting down out of about 300 statewide.
“We were very concerned that we would lose maybe half of them,” said Nordquist. “It was that close to being an absolute disaster for the industry as a whole.”
On Thursday, Congressman Charlie Crist visited the newly-opened brewery in support of Pinellas County’s small businesses.
Crist assured local business owners that help is on the way as many wait for action from Washington in the form of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan.
“I think the best thing that we can do as members of Congress is get as much help to the American people as possible as quickly as possible.”