“Brewing was definitely a passion project for me. I had been a big fan of craft beer when I lived up in D.C. I never had real craft beer until then. Back then, in the early 2000s, there was little to no craft beer in Miami.”

“It kind of snowballed. I came back to Miami and I was working in government when I decided to open a restaurant around 2011. That became the first craft beer-focused restaurant in Miami.”

“That went well and about a year into that, I thought, ‘you know what, I’d love to open a brewery.’ At the time, there wasn’t a single craft brewery open in Miami. Wynwood was going to be the first brewery to open and we got Biscayne Bay Brewing off the ground in September 2014. We didn’t have a taproom for another two years after that – we just started distributing right away.”

“Last year we introduced our Tropical Bay IPA and it just exploded. Now we’re opening a brand-new taproom in downtown Miami, in this beautiful historic building. It’ll be the first brewery in downtown Miami probably since Prohibition.”

“There’s no easy way to say it, the shutdown has been devastating for everyone. I think we’re just fortunate, we had a channel that we could continue to sell through, when a lot of folks didn’t.”

“A lot of breweries are going to start feeling a lot of pressure over the next year. It’s going to be hard for some to get going again. I really worry about the smaller breweries. Many bigger breweries have an off-premise channel or other things that they’ve been doing that have kept them afloat. But the pain is being felt across the board.”

“We’re not asking for a handout here, we just want the opportunity to succeed. In light of what we just went through, if we don’t get reform, we’re not going to have a craft beer industry. It’s not all going to go away, but you could potentially see 50% closures a year out.”

“I think the right to consumer delivery is, I hope, a no brainer.”

“Distributors are very selective today, some distribution houses even cut some brands in their portfolio with this pandemic. When we first started out, it was much easier to find a distributor to partner with. It just doesn’t make sense financially for distributors in today’s market to take on some of these couple hundred-barrel breweries that do 20 different skews.”

“What the means is that self-distribution is especially important for the smaller breweries who are making, say, 500 barrels a year – selling 300 barrels in their taproom, but want to sell the other 200 barrels to the neighborhood, other bars and restaurants. Self-distribution would make it possible for some of the small breweries to sell 10-20 cases to a local convenience stores that carry craft.”

“I think this could be a win-win for brewers and distributors. Legalizing self-distribution would give the smaller brewers more opportunity and room to grow. That makes it more likely they can achieve the volume that distributors look for in new partners.”

“If you love the beer, if you love the culture, then you’re going to fight for it – I think that’s what makes our community resilient. But we need these barriers to success removed. We need to be able to sell directly to consumers and do direct self-distribution when it makes sense.”

Jose Mallea
President, Biscayne Bay Brewing Company
Miami, FL