Soon Florida will have another brewery when Naples Beach Brewery opens in the Spring of 2012. Brewmaster Will Lawson recently took the time to answer a few questions and give us a hint of what's to come.

What inspired your initial interest in beer?
My initial interest in beer came about when I was in college (like millions of others) at Michigan State University. Breweries like Bells and Michigan Brewing Co. were just started to gain good momentum so I can recall the selection in stores becoming more diverse.

What was your first homebrew, and how did it turn out?
My first homebrew was done here in Naples in 2005. The beer selection around town was pretty boring (it is now much, much better) compared to what I was used to in Michigan so my wife encouraged me to homebrew by buying me my first equipment kit. We drove up to Ft. Myers to a wine making shop where I bought a Cali Common extract kit. I'd say knowing what I do now that the brew was a 6.5 on a scale of 10. I don't have specific details but from what I remember it was under attenuated and most likely oxidized as well. I can say with confidence that we had no major infection issues which was good. Best of all we had fun brewing together and little did we know we'd be where we are today from that experience.

How did Naples Beach Brewery come about?
After discovering my passion for brewing science along with having moved back to Michigan I decided to ditch my career in Turfgrass Management and enroll in the Diploma Program at Siebel Institute in the fall of 2007. After completing the program I went to work in a brewpub in Ann Arbor, MI as an assistant brewer. From day 1 at Siebel our goal (my wife and I) was for me to get a solid education as well as a sound hands on brewery work experience in order for us to own and operate our own brewery in the future. Fast forward to today and here we are back in Naples ready to share our beer with this great community and the whole state alike.

Is there a particular brewer who you would consider as your mentor? What did they share with you?
Obviously the brewer I worked under in Ann Arbor I would consider a mentor. Not only is he a fine brewer but he is an even better person. I also listen to a lot of brewer interview podcasts ( and read a lot of brewing books so I have picked up many good tips from respected brewers worldwide.

Where will your beer be available?
We plan to start small as far as production is concerned so our initial goal is to supply a dozen or so local establishments with our beer(s). We also hope to gain approval and licensing to fill growlers and sell bottled beer straight from the brewery.

Will it be draught only or will you be bottling too?
Our startup operation will be predominantly draught however I do plan on bottling our Xmas beer and maybe a barrel aged beer for purchase at the brewery and/or a local bottle shop.

What beers do you plan to offer?
We will begin operation with 4 year round beer's which will be our spin on the following styles: Cream Ale, Dortmunder, Amber Ale, and American Wheat.
I also have plans to brew a monthly "one off" beer which will be either a specialty or seasonal recipe. These beer's will be our spin on the following styles: IPA, DIPA, Black IPA, Bavarian Weizen, Imperial Stout, Brown Ale, Robust Porter, Belgian Dark Strong, Belgian Pale Ale, Belgian Tripel, English Bitter, and Barleywine. My ultimate goal for the brewery is to brew at minimum 30 different rotating beer's per year.

Will your selection be relatively traditional and consistent or do you plan on experimenting with "unique brews" too?
I would say my intention is to be as close to the middle between traditional and experimental as possible. I'm a big believer in style guidelines and I try to create recipes that fall within the specs as much as possible. With that said the creative aspect of brewing is forever linked to experimentation and pushing those style boundaries. The recent acceptance of the Black IPA is a prime example. We'll try to cover it all as much as possible but consistency and style parameters mean a lot to us at Naples Beach Brewery.

What beers do you typically enjoy drinking when you’re not at work?
I tell everyone there is a place for all beer in my refrigerator. No joke, when I'm poolside you will see me drinking a macro 8 out of 10 times. I think too many people too often either don't realize or lose sight of how hard it is to consistently produce a light lager on the scale that the big brewers do. On the other hand you will ALWAYS find me drinking a favorite craft beer when I'm out on the town and/or the moment is special or celebratory. Some of my "go to" styles are IPA, DIPA, Porter, Stout, Imperial Stout, Amber Ales, Bo Pils, Weizen, and Belgians.

We look forward to trying their beers.

For more information on Naples Beach Brewery, visit their website at