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Photo: Todd Bates
Green Bench Brewing
Opening Fall 2013, 1134 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg, 727-214-4863, greenbenchbrewing.com.
Brewer: Khris Johnson (center), with Nathan Stonecipher (left) and Steven Duffy (right)
Inside a former garage that dates to 1925, Green Bench Brewing founders Steven Duffy, 30, and Nathan Stonecipher, 31, stare at piles of debris left from demolishing a wall. The space is vast, with thick beautiful timbers arched across the ceiling like a massive rib cage. The 12,000-square-foot property also includes an adjacent enclosed concrete outdoor space to the west and a grassy lot to the east.
Duffy and Stonecipher grew up together, and had long talked about opening a brewery.
“St. Petersburg specifically had a need for quality beer made here,” says Stonecipher. “Florida is still new to the craft beer world. Cigar City has been a big help, but we can grow our area specifically.”
The city’s coding didn’t really allow for a brewery because, well, there had never been one there before.
“I thought maybe we can do this, maybe it is supposed to be us,” says Duffy. So he went to work with city officials, writing the code that is now in place, a process that took a year to finish. Meanwhile, Stonecipher worked on finding investors (he works in finance), a space, and a brewer.
A big outdoor beer garden is planned, and Johnson is busy working on recipes while construction moves forward on what is slated to be St. Petersburg’s first production micro-brewery.