Name: Troubled Waters Brewing
Owners: Steve and Kevin Shanks (Father/Son)
Where: 670 Main Street in Safety Harbor, FL (former Copperheads Taphouse)
When: End of 2018
About the Brewery: Troubled Waters Brewing is the collaborative efforts of father/son duo Steve and Kevin Shanks. With many years of experience in the craft beer industry between them and five generations of family ties to Safety Harbor it only made sense to setup shop in the quaint little Florida Gulf Coast town. Once they decided to start their own brewery everything has seemingly fallen into place better than they could have hoped for!
Meet the Brewers
Steve and Kevin began their pre-brewery careers in Chicago as a firefighter and bar/restaurant manager, respectively. After nearly 30 years of visiting family in Safety Harbor they decided to make the move themselves.
Steve got his start in the local craft beer scene by giving brewery tours at Cigar City Brewing. He learned the brewing business and process and was eventually tasked with brewing beer for Cigar City at their Tampa International Airport location. You heard that right! Tampa International Airport has it's own on-site brewery! Steve brewed on a 3 bbl system that was confined to about 80 square feet. He was very fortunate in that CCB gave him a lot of freedom as to what he could brew. Of course there were the CCB staples but he was able to experiment without being micromanaged. This freedom allowed him really learn the process and hone his brewing skills. He left there, in 2016 after nearly five years, with aspirations of starting his own craft brewery.
Brewing for Cigar City wasn't Steve's first experience brewing. He had started homebrewing with his son about six years prior after Kevin had watched an episode of Good Eats that was all about brewing beer. Little did either of them know what that episode of Good Eats would blossom into for them! Kevin returned home from his senior semester at college with a home brew kit and from there a seed was planted that would eventually grow into Troubled Waters Brewing.
Kevin brings with him many years of experience running the front of the house operations for craft beer-centric establishments. Prior to moving to Safety Harbor Kevin was the General Manager of The Beer Market in the Chicago-area. It's a World of Beer-type restaurant with hundreds of beers to choose from! He then made the move south and became the Assistant General Manager of the Cigar City's taproom. During his time managing high-volume taprooms he became a Certified Cicerone which is the second level of the Cicerone Certification Program.
They had been dreaming of opening their own brewery for nearly a decade but in February they decided it was time to put up or shut up! So, Kevin decided to put in his notice to CCB that he would be leaving so he could focus on Troubled Waters Brewing. At that time the only thing they knew about their location was that it had to be in downtown Safety Harbor. It was a big risk to leave a steady paycheck for the unknown. But as I mentioned before, once they decided to pull the trigger everything fell into place.
Within a week of Kevin's last day at Cigar City, Copperheads Taphouse on Main St. in downtown Safety Harbor went up for sale! They jumped all over the location and closed on the location in mid-March. Not only was this location right where they wanted to be but it also allows them to generate income from the property until they are able to get the brewery up and running. They are currently running Copperheads Taphouse as it was and with its same name. They have revamped the tap list and are starting to build awareness of their brewery.
They have submitted renovation plans to the city and should hear back in 4-8 weeks before they can start their build out. Inside they plan to keep the front of the bar area pretty much the same but with a cosmetic face-lift. The back side of the bar will be removed as well as the bathrooms in the back right of the building. This will open up room in the back for their brewing equipment. They will add a small sandwich station behind the bar to feed their hungry patrons. They will expand the front patio to make up for the lost room inside and the penny-filled bar top will also be replaced. The decor will be bright, colorful, and likely industrial to reflect the Florida aquatic lifestyle.
They currently have 30 beers on tap and plan to keep half of those as rotating taps and the other half will be built up of their own offerings. Eventually they will start a small barrel-aging program.
In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang describes how seemingly opposite forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent. This is how they decided on the name Troubled Waters Brewing because it is directly opposite of the name Safety Harbor but yet the establishment will be extremely complimentary, interconnected, and interdependent to the town.
The brewhouse will be a 3 bbl Stout Brewing System and consist of seven fermenters ranging from 1.5 to 7 bbl capacities. Their equipment has already arrived but cannot be installed until renovations are complete.
Having been homebrewers and also members of the Suncoast Barley Mashers and the Pinellas Urban Brewers Guild Steve would like to open his brew system up to local homebrewers to try their hands at professional scale brewing and serve their beer on tap. Troubled Waters Brewing will be an integral part of the Safety Harbor community.
Between Steve's extensive professional brewing experience and Kevin's front of house experience they should have no problem making Troubled Waters Brewing a success!
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