- August 10, 2016
A new mural sits above the patio door at the recently opened Dub Shack at UTC — JDub’s Brewing Co.’s new offsite taproom in the former World of Beer location at 8217 Tourist Center Drive.
In it, a blue “Star Wars” Stormtrooper stands in front of a multicolor galaxy, one hand clutching a can of JDub’s Passion Wheat — the other outstretched, emphasizing the message painted above:
“No jerks allowed in this universe.”
It’s a playful nod to the brewery’s art in its downtown location, as well as the atmosphere its founder, Jeremy Joerger, has striven to establish in the last three years.
“It’s silly, but it’s not obnoxious,” he says. “It’s funny and cheeky, but it’s never vulgar. It’s silly, bright and upbeat.”
It’s part of the three things to which Joerger attributes the brewery’s success: good beer, good people and staying true to your identity.
“It starts with quality beer,” he says. “It’s not about having the best beer, or better beer than someone else — it’s about making good beer. If we don’t believe in it, we don’t put it out. So many people approach things backwards — focused on competition. For us, it’s about looking inward and perfecting what makes us great.”
Since founding JDub’s Brewing Co. three years ago, Joerger has seen the company grow substantially. Its canning production has seen a 300% annual increase; its business has doubled year over year. Its brewing has expanded to make use of offsite facilities at Lakeland’s Brew Hub, and its beer now enjoys distribution statewide.
The Dub Shack at UTC, which opened Jan. 27, marks the next step in the company’s growth. The taproom, which is a licensing agreement to rebrand the specific WOB franchise using the JDub’s brand, will be a second home to the brewing company, featuring 20 of its own beers, as well as a selection of craft options from fellow brewers, plus food available for order from neighboring business, Casa Di Pizza.
Most importantly to Joerger, it will embody the spirit of the company.
“We want people to have the same experience they would downtown,” he says. “We have art by all the same artists who worked at that location, which was important to me. I want to grow, and this is a great step.”
With less than a week to rebrand the location, Joerger, along with his team, worked around the clock to pull off the transition. It reminded him of the sleepless nights he experienced getting the brewery off the ground. But with many of the entrepreneurial growing pains behind him, he says he’s once again looking inward.
“I started this with a dream and a notepad,” he says. “Small business tests you in every way possible, but it’s absolutely worth it. If you’re dedicated and stay true to your vision, you can make it happen.”