New Eastpoint brewery hit hard by hurricane

EASTPOINT, Fla.— It's been just over a week since Hurricane Michael rocked Florida's Forgotten Coast, including its newest planned craft brewery, Eastpoint Beer Company.

Before the storm, EBC owner Josh Parker — after working almost a year to open — was three weeks from pouring its first brew for Big Bend beer lovers.

But now?

"There's so many questions at this point," Parker said. "This hurricane changed a lot for us. It changed a lot for everybody here."

The damage to the EBC building, which is right off the water on Highway 98 in Eastpoint, was mind-numbing. 

The losses ... hard to even calculate right now.

But Parker said he won't let this setback be the end of a dream he's had for 30 years

"We're gonna rebuild," he said with a heavy sigh, knowing the work in front of him. "It won't happen overnight, but the support of this community and the friends I've made here is so strong for our brewery; we can't say enough about how amazing everyone has been."

That support started the day after Michael was gone, when friend Steve Morris of Eastpoint showed up with his entire family — and their families' families — offering to help clean up. 

And they definitely had their work cut out for them.

Last Thursday morning, Parker and girlfriend Jennifer Klingmann left Tallahassee, where they evacuated to during the storm, and tried their best to make it back to Eastpoint. After dodging downed power lines, washed out roads — including portions of Highway 98 — and countless trees blocking their path, they got a first glimpse of what the Category 4 hurricane had done.

"The wind damage wasn't what was the worst. It was the the storm surge and how powerful it was. It literally carried huge boulders through the water that came crashing through the back doors and walls of the brewery and were sitting here when we arrived," said Parker, who estimated the water got as high as two feet in the brewery. "And the amount of mud, oyster shells, sand and seaweed was just incredible." 

In addition to structural damage, EBC lost its first batch of beer that was sitting in the fermenter when Hurricane Michael hit — a dry Irish stout Parker planned to name "The Dowd Stout" after his childhood friend from upstate New York, Mike Dowd. EBC also lost thousands of dollars in brewing equipment and supplies, including two serving tanks that were detached by the raging storm surge and floated away.

The good news?

"I was driving back from the store yesterday and I found one of them just sitting on the shore a few blocks from the brewery," Parker said with a slight laugh. "The other one could be anywhere from here to Mexico by now. I don't have a lot of hope I'll find it."

Parker's goal was to be open at the end of October, but he now says that's obviously been pushed back — to when? "Optimistically? One to two months. Realistically? Probably more like two to three."

EBC will have some help getting there, though. 

Dowd started a GoFundMe page for Eastpoint Beer that — at press time of this article — had already raised $975 of a $7,500 goal. 

Also, next Thursday, Oct. 25, Deep Brewing will host a fundraiser for Eastpoint Beer Company from 7-10 p.m. at the brewery (details of which are on Deep's Facebook page) and two-time Tallahassee Food Truck of the Year, Tally Mac Shack, will be on site serving their award-winning food and donating a portion of that evening's proceeds to the EBC.

Parker said the outpouring of love and positive reinforcement means a lot to him and Klingmann, whose massage therapy business housed on the back side of the EBC building — Gulf Coast Institute of Massage and Healing — was also a casualty of Hurricane Michael. 

"Her entire business is on hold right now, because her room and massage table were ruined," Parker said. "But just like Eastpoint Beer Company, it'll be back. From all the people stopping in to check on us, to those who've been bringing us food as we work, to all the manpower helping clean up all around us, the community here continues to impress. And we can't thank everyone enough for their support."

Oyster City escapes Michael's wrath 

The news just up the road from Eastpoint at the Forgotten Coast's first-ever craft brewery, Apalachicola's Oyster City Brewing Company, was much better.

Shortly after Hurricane Michael passed, OCBC posted on its Facebook page that "The brewery weathered the storm quite well, but many others weren’t so lucky." 

This week, Oyster City resumed its regular hours of operations — a sign of normalcy in a town that will need months to recover fully.

"In the meantime, let’s all continue to help our friends and neighbors with anything they need," OCBC wrote in a post Monday. "Apalachicola is a spectacular place, we’re all exhausted, but we will make this push and resume life as normal. A big thanks is in order to all of the volunteers, linemen/line women, tree service men/women, and all of the businesses and individuals who chipped in near and far to help all of those in need."

Inaugural Tallahassee Beer Festival postponed due to storm

The first-ever Tallahassee Beer Festival, which was slated for Oct. 13 at the Tallahassee Pavilion at the Centre of Tallahassee, was postponed after Hurricane Michael hit the Big Bend. Organizer Ben Graybar says he wishes there was a new date to hold the festival in 2018, but instead it has been moved to Jan. 26, 2019.

"It was for the safety of all involved — and with a heavy heart — we were forced to announce the postponement. With brewers and distributors traveling from out of town, 90 percent of the city without power, and hotel rooms needed for those without power or homes, it was the right call," Graybar said. "We are appreciative of the support of the community, and hope to hold a hallmark event in January 2019 that benefits local nonprofits!"

For anyone with questions about the Tallahassee Beer Festival, email Graybar at

TLH Breweries fare well during hurricane, assist community

All five of Tallahassee craft breweries lost power during Hurricane Michael, but luckily, that's about it. We're happy to report that, all around, our TLH breweries fared well.

Before and after Hurricane Michael hit, Proof Brewing and GrassLands were filling large and small water jugs for local residents with their filtered water. And Lake Tribe even offered one free pint for all first responders.  

The Tallahassee Beer Society is a group of avid craft beer lovers that was co-founded by Danny Aller. To keep up on all the haps on the Big Bend craft beer scene, follow the TLH Beer Society at or on Instagram and Twitter at @TLHBeerSociety. You can also email

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