Sailfish Brewing Company opened for business in April 2013 near downtown Fort Pierce. In February 2017, the brewery opened a new taproom and increased its production to a 20-barrel system.
Everyone has a fish story.
Sailfish Brewing Co.s story began in downtown Fort Pierce as the first craft brewery on the Treasure Coast.
And it continues with a second location in Vero Beach.
We wanted to do something in an area that wasnt too far away, but close enough, said David BuShea Jr., the brewerys president. We have a huge fan base in Vero.
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Danielle West (left), tap room manager at Sailfish Brewing Company, talks with her customer Jay Weeks (right), of Jensen Beach, inside their renovated tap room on Wednesday, May 20, 2020, in downtown Fort Pierce. Sailfish Brewing Company has renovated their tap room and is now open from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and noon to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.(Photo: ERIC HASERT/TCPALM)
BuShea founded the company with Nick Bischoff, Mike Sturgis and Danny Horton and opened the brewery April 2013 in historic Edgartown. They moved into a bigger space in 2017 just down the road on North Second Street.
They always talked about having multiple locations as part of their business plan, and Bischoff and Strugis are from Vero Beach.
Its really exciting to grow the brand, BuShea said. The more people we can get more beer out to, the better.
BuShea hopes to open the Vero Beach location by the end of May, but that depends on licensing and permitting. The latest opening would be early summer, he said.
Sailfish will open in the Portales de Vero building on Ocean Drive, in the former Orchid Island Brewery taproom that moved to distribution only last year.
The new location will have a taproom and kitchen, but all brewery operations will remain in Fort Pierce. BuShea said the downtown space already is set up for future expansion.
The Vero location wont have the same pizza kitchen as Fort Pierce because it doesnt have enough space. BuSheaplans to close in the previous open kitchen and add a commercial hood.
The menu will feature fresh fish, bone marrow and small beach bites. The taproom will offer beers to go and special can release available only there, as well as more emphasis on wine.
Sailfish Brewing Company has recently started canning their most popular beer, White Marlin Wit.
Vero Beach is a different market than Fort Pierce based on demographic research, BuShea said. He and the other founders wanted to open in an area that made sense.
They saw the opportunity to expand the business next to a public beach access and take the brand further across the region.
COVID taught us a lot last year, with having to transition over to an actual restaurant, BuShea said. Thats how were approaching Vero to be more of a taproom and kitchen versus an actual brewery.
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Sailfish Brewing Company in Fort Pierce is opening a second location in Vero Beach this year. Co-founders include Mike Strugis and Nick Bischoff, both of Vero Beach, and David BuShea Jr.(Photo: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO FROM SAILFISH BREWING COMPANY)
He said they discovered an opportunity on the retail side of the business the taproom, kitchen and merchandise and how it can support the distribution side, which has grown to be statewide and includes Publix grocery stores.
Theyre now looking to open points of distribution in the Caribbean, such as Puerto Rico, in the next month or so, BuShea said.
They would consider opening more locations across the Treasure Coast after achieving success in Vero Beach.
As the areas first brewery, he said, they want Sailfish to own the region.
Thats our hometown, BuShea said, and we pride ourselves on being a hometown brewery.
Laurie K. Blandford is TCPalm's entertainment reporter and columnist dedicated to finding the best things to do on the Treasure Coast. Follow her on Twitter at @TCPalmLaurie or Facebook at faceboook.com/TCPalmLaurie.
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