Owners Steven Duffy, Nathan Stonecipher, and Khris Johnson all have long histories in this beautiful waterfront city they’re lucky enough to call home.
Their passion for this town and love of the community allotted them the perfect opportunity to open St. Petersburg’s first microbrewery. What started as a hobby for them evolved into a full time, professional business of passion.
While beginning to discuss the concept of starting a production brewery they had differing opinions concerning many topics/ideas, however, the critical components were agreed upon wholeheartedly and without debate:
// Green Bench would craft unique beers, mead, and cider using a combination of fresh, local, and traditional ingredients, creating a product that would be enjoyed and embraced by those in the community, while striving to challenge the status quo of taste in this area.
// Green Bench beer would provide a classic medium for conversation and relationships to be forged and strengthened.
// Green Bench would take care to grow the brand slowly and deliberately, ensuring the continued satisfaction of their committed customer base while remaining focused on quality/creativity over quantity.
// Perhaps most importantly, they wanted Green Bench Brewing Co. to be a valuable asset to this community and an addition to the local business landscape of which St. Petersburg could be proud.
After putting pen to paper on a business plan, changing zoning laws and use codes in St. Petersburg, all while wading through numerous industrial properties and laying out potential floor plans, they received unanimous approval from the City on their special exception submittal. After finding the right equity partners, losing other equity partners and resuscitating the dream a couple of times, they found the right debt partner and organized the purchase of equipment and began construction on their facility in 2013. It has been a long road for this crew, as it has been for many others.
However, they wouldn’t have changed a thing along the way. What they lost in time, they gained in education and humility. The personal costs and hurdles associated with opening this distinctive production microbrewery assure the public that their passion runs deep, their vision is authentic, and their drive is immutable. This is how an outstanding product is made, with sacrifice, sweat equity, and tears. The process shouldn’t be easy, you should have to use all that’s within you to chase down the dream, and then when you catch it, the fruits of your labor are priceless.