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Orlando Sentinel Tod Caviness column

July 09--Mention the Sunshine State and the first beverage that comes to a tourist's mind may be orange juice -- but not for long. In Central Florida, 2014 is shaping up to be the year of beer

July 09–Mention the Sunshine State and the first beverage that comes to a tourist’s mind may be orange juice — but not for long. In Central Florida, 2014 is shaping up to be the year of beer thanks to a crop of new microbreweries.

According to the owners of upcoming breweries Persimmon Hollow, Ten 10 Brewing and Wop’s Hops, the road to suds success isn’t an easy one, especially in Florida. Provincial tastes can be tough to change, and the possibility of additional regulation from a proposed craft-beer bill (SB 1714) sparked contention from many brewers when it made its way through the Florida Senate earlier this year.

In April, that bill lost traction in the state House of Representatives, and the thirst for new beer remains unquenched if these brave brewers’ plans are any indication. Here’s a preview of what we can expect from their ventures slated to open in late summer and early fall.

Persimmon Hollow Brewing Co.

Robbie Carelli and business partner Andy Sistrunk are keeping their local ties tight when it comes to their brewery and taproom, and why not? Persimmon Hollow is scheduled to open in the same warehouse space that regularly draws hundreds of visitors to the annual DeLand Craft Beer Festival.

Before Henry DeLand founded the area in 1876, DeLand was known as Persimmon Hollow, and Carelli and Sistrunk are full of the same pioneer spirit for their namesake brewery and taproom. The two began their love affair with craft brewing just three years ago, quickly perfecting their recipes into home-brewed beers that won praise at the DeLand festival.

“Some folks from Terrapin Brewing in Athens, Ga., kept coming back to our booth,” recalls Carelli, “And finally, at the end of the fest they came up to us and said, ‘You guys need to do something with this; it’s too good.'”

Carelli and Sistrunk plan to open Persimmon Hollow toward the end of August in the 5,000-square foot, wood-raftered space they have leased at 111 W. Georgia Ave., DeLand. Half of that area will constitute the brewery itself, with the other half devoted to a taproom that Carelli hopes to fill up with art and a stage for DeLand musicians. The owners first met playing music in local bands.

And, of course, there will be beers on tap, everything from Persimmon Hollow’s flagship Dee-Land White Boy Belgian White Ale to their Funky Freddy Fitz Stout.

“We specialize in Belgian and American-style ales,” said Carelli. “Over the past three years, we’ve developed 14-20 recipes that we feel are really honed in and ready, but what we’ll do is probably start off with a handful and expand out.”

For details on Persimmon Hollow, head to

Ten 10 Brewing Co.

Ten 10 Brewing owner Mike Wallace is cagey about the plans for his brewpub at 1010 Virginia Drive in Orlando, but who can blame him? Wallace knows firsthand how quickly plans can change.

As recently as April, the Orlando-based Orange Blossom Brewing Co. had been expected to open a brewery and tasting room in the same space, a short walk from craft-beer bars such as Will’s Pub and The Thirsty Topher. OBBC instead opted to focus on its brewing operations at a facility in Lakeland.

Wallace, a former sales representative for Terrapin Brewing, was more than ready to fill the gap. His new Ten 10 Brewing Co. has secured a lease at the 1010 Virginia space, and Wallace hopes to open in September.

Plans include a bar that wraps around the main brewing area in the 2,800-square-foot space, plus a small outdoor beer garden. Wallace aims to have 12 draft lines, some of which may be guest taps from other breweries. Ten 10’s own brews will “focus on the American craft-beer styles — IPA’s, pale ales, stouts,” according to Wallace.

As for the decor and beer names? Wallace isn’t saying just yet, though he’s glad to be part of the same Mills 50 neighborhood where he spends his nights out.

“We want to have everything lined up and ready to go before we put the horse before the cart,” said Wallace.

Wop’s Hops

Wop’s Hops’ moniker might raise a few eyebrows, but co-owner Greg Piecora hopes it doesn’t offend you. He certainly isn’t: The name of his fledgling brewery comes from an affectionate nickname Piecora’s wife hangs on her husband and his Italian heritage.

For the past few years, Piecora has been putting that heritage and his homebrewing skills to use making small-batch beers for sale at Marco Dino’s Italian Ristorante in Sanford. This year, Piecora and Wop’s Hops co-owner Peter R. Minelga are taking those recipes to the next level by opening their own brewery and taproom in the former old Stokes Fish Market building, 419 S. Sanford Ave., Sanford.

Piecora’s adventurous recipes are well-suited to an area that is being groomed as a new entertainment district by the city of Sanford, with new cobblestone streets and trendy neighbors such as Buster’s Bistro and Celery City Craft bar. Wop’s Hops tentative arsenal includes brews such as Piecora’s Sweet Potato Ale on four regular and four rotating taps.

Piecora says the taproom will occupy less than half of the 1,000 square-foot space, but a beer garden will accommodate outdoor drinkers.

“What we’re going for is the historic Sanford look,” said Piecora. “There were a lot of gin joints, dance clubs and saloons in the early years, and we want to have that kind of look.”

Piecora and Minelga hope to open Wop’s Hops by the end of August. For details and updates, check their facebook page at

[email protected] or 407-420-5677


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