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Brewer Joey Redner Talks Crafting a Popular Brew in a Diverse Beer Market

Cigar City Brewery has found a way to stand out as a unique brand in a diverse and fast growing craft beer market. Sponsored by Grape-Nuts.

About this sponsorship: In honor of the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary’s historic ascent of Mount Everest, Patch and Grape-Nuts are teaming up to highlight those who inspire people around them to climb their own mountains.

In just four years time, Joey Redner has gone from beer enthusiast and upstart brewer to an award winning craft brewer that will produce 25,000 barrels of ale in 2013.

Son of the famous Mons Venus owner, Joe Redner, the 40-year old craft beer connoisseur has taken his sales and his connections with the beer community to the next level in recent months. Last March, he visited the nation's capital in an effort to lobby lawmakers for a tax cut for brewers that would save him around $100,000 this year, money that could be spent to expand his evergrowing workforce that is currently at 51 employees.

Patch caught up with Redner to discuss the challenges of handling Cigar City's speedy growth and the consistently evolving palate of beer drinkers.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you've taken on in your career?

A: The biggest challenge I have faced is addressing the fast growth of our brewery while still focusing on the goal of staying true to the mission of producing a wide variety of quality, interesting ales. It is important to me that we do not become defined only by our flagship brand Jai Alai IPA. Variety and seasonal beer consumption is important to me and I believe it is important to Cigar City Brewing consumers.   

Q: What was it that inspired you to take on that challenge and deal with trials and tribulations that come with it?

A: Passion for the huge variety of beer styles that exist and a desire to educate our customers about the wider world of beer styles.

Q: Describe your success in achieving your goals in this challenge.

A: We have dedicated a significant portion of our production capacity to seasonal, special release and experimental ales. I feel strongly that this variety keeps people interested and engaged in Cigar City Brewing as a whole.    

Q: Do you have advice for people facing their own challenges?

A: It is a balancing act. If you allow your company to be dominated by one brand or even one service, you run the risk not only of increasing the downside of changing consumer tastes, you miss out on the opportunity to instill in your staff a spirit of innovation and a passion for exploring all the possible roads their specific profession might take them and the company. Diversity of product offering is very important. Specialization has its place, but within any organization there is room to accommodate the expertise of multiple people.

Bill May 24, 2013 at 12:34 PM
I love Cigar City and Jai Alai is my favorite beer! I've also met Joey a few times and he is the nicest guy in the world. It should also be mentioned that he recently opened the Cigar City Brewpub down on Dale Mabry at Northdale in Carrolwood. The food there is great! It's a little pricey, but all ingredients are high quality, locally sourced or even made in house so it's definitely worth it, in my opinion. Plus, obviously, they have many great Cigar City brews on tap as well as a few specialty beers brewed on site. Check it out sometime. It's only 10 minutes away from LOL.
Paul Byrne May 24, 2013 at 02:28 PM
Great article. Craft beer in Florida is about to get much more interesting. Check out Brew Hub www.thebrewhub.com to learn more.
Paul Streicher May 26, 2013 at 06:31 PM
Thanks, Bill for your comment. I drove by the pub last night and noticed it was new and I didn't give it a thought. I like to try different brews so now your 'ad' has inspired me to give the pub a try. Now I hope to find a menu online that I could look at.

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