Oyster City move another big investment in Tallahassee craft beer culture

Clayton Mathis, Oyster City's Head Brewer and General Manager, confirmed Apalachicola brewery would be taking over the former GrassLands Brewing building located at 603 W. Gaines St. Pictured from left: Oyster City co-owner Alexi Sekmakas, Oyster City GM Clayton Mathis and co-owner Darin Phillips.

The news we broke earlier this week in the Tallahassee Democrat — that Oyster City Brewing Company in Apalachicola was opening its second location in Tallahassee — resulted in cheers throughout the Big Bend. 

"Dreams really come DO come true!!!! Hooter Brown in my hometown!" commented Elyzabeth Anderson on the TLH Ladies That Beer Facebook post about the announcement. 

"Very exciting news! An already rich craft beer scene gets richer!" tweeted Tallahassee resident Mike Roseman (@mike_roseman). 

"Welcome to @CityofTLH, @OysterCityBeer! #CraftCapital," tweeted City of Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey (@MayorOfTLH). 

Anyone else wanna open a craft brewery in Tallahassee? Because now seems to be the time.

Oyster City — a wildly popular brewery with loyal fans and celebrity endorsements (see: Florida-Georgia Line) — deciding to plant a new flag at the former GrassLands in Tallahassee (which has long been its second-biggest sales market for their beer) is just another in a series of big things to happen to our craft beer scene in the last two years.

Let's recap, shall we?:

Expansion at Proof and Ology

A little over two years ago, Proof Brewing — Tallahassee's largest and oldest craft brewery — announced it was moving from Railroad Square to an enormous and beautiful new location a block south of the State Capitol Building. The reason? They'd simply outgrown their old facility because the demand for Proof beer was increasing almost daily. A great sign for Proof and Tallahassee.

Not long after, Ology Brewing — Tallahassee's newest and youngest brewery at the time — announced they were opening a second location off Northeast Capital Circle. Their reasoning? Nearly identical to Proof's: Demand. Demand. And more demand. And then not long after that, Ology opened a third location off Kerry Forest Parkway, where it plans to offer a full service brew pub and restaurant sometime this year.

Oh, and we should also mention that during all this, Ology was busy distributing its beer into more than a half dozen states besides Florida, as well as multiple countries overseas. Not too shabby for a brewery that only opened in Tallahassee less than four years ago.

Prize-winning brews

Then last March (right before the pandemic was declared), three Tallahassee breweries — Proof, Ology and Deep — all medaled with at least one gold at the Best Florida Beer Championships in Tampa. Oyster City also medaled at the same event for two different beers, but then later in 2020, they one-upped everybody with an accolade that took things next-level on the Big Bend craft beer scene.

In December, Oyster City won not one, but TWO gold medals at the U.S. Open Beer Championships — arguably the most prestigious beer event in the nation every year. And it was at that moment when craft beer fans around the country started to look up and say, "OK, North Florida ... we see you!"

Apalachicola craft brewing operation Oyster City, which first opened in Franklin County in 2014, is expanding into Tallahassee and will be taking over the former GrassLands Brewing building.

World of Beer arrival

And finally, the biggest craft beer franchise in America — World Of Beer — debuted its first-ever location in Tallahassee in October 2020. Run by Tallahassee native Jason Frimmel, World of Beer breaking ground in Tallahassee marked a big moment in the city's craft beer history.

It showed that a successful national company as big as WOB — which normally doesn't greenlight franchises to open in city's with less than 500,000 residents — was willing to invest in us — in you — in Tallahassee.

Their corporate leadership had to take one look at the craft beer culture here and say: "Population be darned — this place loves its craft beer, and it will not only support a WOB, but a WOB franchise will thrive!"

With the pandemic hopefully waning and local businesses beginning to rebound, here we are: Tallahassee is 6 craft breweries strong in the Capital City alone, we have a slew of great craft beer bars all over town, and there's even a fully operational distillery (thanks to those guys at Ology; do they ever sleep?!?) 

Yes. Tallahassee beer is now firmly in the craft beer spotlight thanks to all the aforementioned events over the past 2 years. (Of course, having the best Beer Society in America running point — and keeping the local craft beer community engaged 24/7, 365 — doesn't hurt either. *smiley face emoji, wink emoji*)

But then when you factor in Monday's announcement by Oyster City? Well, it only made that spotlight even brighter.

And for a group like us that's been screaming from the mountain top for almost 4 years now how GOOD we have it here when it comes to craft beer, trust us when we say this: We wouldn't want it any other way.

We knew when we started the TLH Beer Society in 2017 that the potential was there — right here in front of us — to get to this point. 

And now, beer fam, is Tallahassee's time to shine!

Danny Aller is the co-founder, along with Matthew Crumbaker, of the TLH Beer Society, a group of avid craft beer lovers. Reach the Beer Society on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or email: tlhbeersociety@gmail.com.

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