Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Lakewood Ranch's first brewery hopes to become ingrained locally

Group of friends take their beer-making to a larger scale production.

  • By
  • | 3:10 a.m. June 15, 2016
The brew crew, Steve Cieszynski, Joe and Diana Eibler, Anthony Martin, Judy and  Eric Keller and Anthony Eibler. The team brews in the Eibler's garage.
The brew crew, Steve Cieszynski, Joe and Diana Eibler, Anthony Martin, Judy and Eric Keller and Anthony Eibler. The team brews in the Eibler's garage.
  • East County
  • News
  • Share

“We’ve had lots of help getting here,” Joe Eibler said. 

Joe Eibler gets cracking every day at 4:30 a.m., literally.

He goes to his garage, opens a bag of grain, and gets to work.

“Cracking the grain yourself gives you a better flavor,” he said.

Joe and his wife, Diana, are about to take their beer-making, Sarasota garage operation to a much bigger scale.

The Eiblers, along with business partners Eric and Judy Keller and marketing manager Anthony Martin, are opening Lakewood Ranch’s first microbrewery.

The partners hope to open at 2507 Lakewood Ranch Blvd. in the fall.

The name, Naughty Monk, was the result of a night drinking craft beer. Diana ordered a Belgian beer with a monk on its label, and the idea for their establishment’s name was brewed. They’ll celebrate their grand opening with Oktoberfest, of course.

The planned 15-barrel brew house will occupy 9,000 square feet with a 2,800-square-foot tasting room in front. Parrish’s Eric Keller, CFO, said they’ll start with eight to 10 taps and increase to about 24.

In addition to the 15-barrel system for their main recipes, which they plan to package and sell once the brewery takes off, they’ll have a smaller, one-barrel pilot system to test out new recipes and get guest feedback on limited release recipes.

“It’s a big system,” Keller said. “The core beers, we’re not sure what those will be.”

The team already has about 40 recipes they can choose. They plan to specialize in Belgian ales and unique flavor combinations, like habanero-agave wheat and chocolate coconut porter.

“We want to brew unforgettable beers,” said Joe Eibler, who is a brew master.

The brewery spilled over from the Eibler’s hobby. Formerly wine drinkers, Diana and Joe visited friends in Orlando five years ago and in turn visited craft beer bars. They were hooked so they bought a home brew kit.

Diana, now the CEO, said she is the original brewmistress. She said she used to cook the mashes on the stove. They moved their operation to the garage, and began to expand.

“Joe wakes up, and I’ll find him researching (recipes),” she said.

Eventually, they began to serve their beer to friends and family.

The Kellers became involved a year and a half ago. Eric Keller was a customer of Joe’s, who works in customer service for a landscaping company. He’d dreamed of opening a brewery, so when he found out the Eiblers were expanding their hobby into a business, he was interested.

His wife, Judy, didn’t used to drink beer, but since getting involved has learned to like it. The group has taken its beers to festivals and the feedback has been positive. Naughty Monk won a bronze medal at the 2015 Best Florida Beer Championships in Tampa for its strawberry wheat recipe.

The team is working on permitting from the county and is ready to start construction. Finding a location was difficult because the property had to be zoned  Planned Development Mixed Use, to have both a brewery and a tasting room in the same location.


Related Articles