Florida's Forgotten Original Regional Breweries
A 'regional brewery' is one that distributes to particular regions on a smaller basis than the nationwide breweries many of us are familiar with today. Though the Florida Beer Company and Cigar City Brewing are the only regional breweries in Florida today, many formerly operated across the Sunshine State.
Spearman Brewing Company (1933 - 1964)
City: Pensacola, Florida Capacity: 80,000 annual barrels
Penascola’s Spearman Brewing Company was founded on April 6, 1934 by Guy Spearman. Spearman decided to get into the brewing business after visiting the Carta Blanca Brewery during a trip to Monterrey, Mexico. On May 18, 1935, he opened the Spearman Brewing Company adjacent to his Crystal Ice Company plant at 1600 South Barrancas Avenue. The brewery included a three-story brewhouse, a two-story stock house and a bottling house capable of packaging 6,000 bottles a day. At the time, the brewery was considered to be one of the most modern of its size in the South.
Within a short drive of Pensacola’s Naval Air Station, production peaked during World War II with 150 employees brewing 80,000 barrels in 1943. The brewery’s brands were Spearman Draft Beer, Spearman Draft Ale, Spearman English-Type Ale, Spearman’s Straight Eight Beer, and Bon Premium Beer. In 1959, Spearman sold the brewery to International Breweries and went back to concentrating on his ice making business across the street. However, International Breweries’ pockets couldn’t keep the brewery from losing its edge on the Gulf Coast to major corporations like Busch and Pabst. In 1964, it closed for good, remaining abandoned until its demolition in 1987.