Keel & Curley Winery has a predominately female customer base, but they plan to tap the male market with the debut of Two Henrys Brewing Company - and beer.
Clay Keel, 30, said they began the process of making their hand-crafted beer in small 5-gallon batches in January. Keel of Plant City said they will officially launch their brewery company during a "Biertober Festival" on Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the winery, 5210 W. Thonotosassa Road, Plant City.
"It will be the launch of our beer and a festival as well," said Clay, who is the son of Joey Keel, the owner of the winery and a Florida blueberry farmer.
Clay Keel said he had been pestering his father to try making beer, but the inspiration didn't ripen until the elder Keel attended Oktoberfest in Germany last October.
After that, Keel said, it was easy to persuade his father to branch out with the brewing company, thanks to the positive experience in world renowned beer country such as Germany. Keel said Jared Gilbert, a winemaker for Keel & Curley, was also on board with the idea for a brewery.
"We got to know the brewing community," Clay Keel said. "The beer community is kind of a fraternity. It's really neat. Making beer is a new challenge for us."
Keel said expanding to a beer brewing business was a natural path to take since they already had the equipment, facilities and tasting room.
"People are looking for craft beers," he said, adding that sixty to 65 percent of wine drinkers tend to be female. "Beer is the complete opposite demographic."
Keel said he is excited about the likelihood that more men will visit their tasting room. He said wine connoisseurs may continue to enjoy their blueberry and other wines while beer drinkers taste the four or five different varieties of beer being introduced.
"We are going to be selling here on the premises," Keel said. "Initially we will get into a few local bars and restaurants to get the word out about the brewery."
As far as the name of the brewery, Keel said it's based on Henry Flagler and Henry Plant, two businessmen who joined teams and formed the railroad system that helped connect the east coast and west coast of Florida.
Their logo depicts the two men and includes the fact that it was established in 2013 in Plant City, Florida.
"The idea behind the brand is to tell that history - each beer will tie back to the story of the two Henrys and how they helped establish the state of Florida."
In preparation for the festival, they are seeking local home brewers who will share their beer with other beer enthusiasts. To fill out an application, people may visit their web site at keelandcurleywinery.com.
They are also seeking food vendors. Vendors who are interested may download an application from their website. People may also register for their cornhole tournament.
For more information on the festival, call (813)752-9100.