Christian Birkley admittedly is a beer-lover.
So although his background is in designing and managing audiovisual systems, it’s not such a surprise that he’s now the proud owner of the area’s first World of Beer location.
The upscale bar, which opened in October 2009, offers more than 500 beers from all over the world, including 40 poured from a tap.
“I don’t have a favorite (beer),” said Birkley, the franchise’s managing partner. “Brown ales would be one of my favorite styles, wheat beers. I love Belgium beers.”
World of Beer also offers a wide range of wines, champagne, sangria and cigars, and customers can even purchase beer retail in six-packs or pre-order cases and kegs.
The bar also offers live music four times a week on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
Originally from Kentucky, Birkley moved to the area about 11 years ago. He met the originators of the World of Beer and watched the concept evolve over the last few years before deciding to open his own franchise.
“It’s a brilliant concept,” Birkley said. “It’s a great social gathering where people can come and make new friends and share a really great beer and conversation. It’s investing in people. You can never go wrong with investing in people.”
Birkley, a native of Kentucky, has little time for hobbies, such as fishing, anymore, but is keeping busy with business, and with his family — fiancee Kerri Augustine and 2-year-old Tristen Birkley.
Birkley said he and his business partners Chris and Becky Ewanowski expect to open seven or eight more locations in the Southwest corridor of Florida over the next few years. Their next location is expected to open in Estero in about seven months.
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].
World of Beer
Location: 8217 Tourist Center Drive at University Center)
Hours: 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., Monday through Friday; noon to 2 a.m., Saturday and Sunday
Line of business: Bar featuring more than 500 beers
Year established: October 2009
What makes the business unique: “The concept itself — the fact that there’s over 500 beers in one place from all over the world. We offer a little wine to coincide with the beer. It’s a very bubbly, happy-go-lucky atmosphere.”