THE BREW BATTLE IS ON – Big Beer vs. Microbreweries


Mark McKinnon knows his stuff. He should – he is Global Vice-Chairman of Hill & Knowlton Strategies, an international communications consultancy, and the President of Maverick Media. According to his online bio, for three decades, Mr. McKinnon has been solving complex strategic challenges for causes, companies and candidates of all persuasions, including George W. Bush, John McCain, Ann Richards and Bono.

His statement, “Marketers know – no matter how deep the emotional connection or brand loyalty – when a product does not perform, rational thought overtakes emotion, and most consumers make a new choice,” is certainly on target as applied to the contemporary savage battle for beer-drinker loyalty being waged between “Big Beer” and microbreweries spread throughout our country. This brew-based conflict came to a mass-marketed head, so to speak, during this year’s Super Bowl game, when Budweiser paid big bucks to have their commercial denigrating craft beer lovers broadcast during the big game.

Beer drinkers’ “new choice” over the past several years has increasingly been for unique, rare – and flavorful creations slung out of the taps located within small, locally-owned breweries.

In assessing the prodigious migration of discriminating taste buds away from the mass-produced brands, Big Beer has not performed, Mr. McKinnon would probably say – their corporate efforts have failed to match the evolving collective palate of beer lovers around the world with their rice (or corn) based recipes. It’s not that Big Beer tastes awful – it’s that craft beer tastes better. This simple but polarizing distinction is what has spawned legions of ardent, rational-thinking, fist-pumping, blog-writing supporters of the craft beer industry. And we’re here to stay.

In May, our local “brews and chews” establishments here in the Greater Jacksonville area have their performances fine-tuned for you!

Barley Bus 2015 – It’s that time of year again!  I’m excited to announce this year’s Barley Bus will be rolling out on Friday, May 15! Hop on at Copper Tap House on Beach Blvd. and get ready to party at 8 different stops along the way with all your beer included at each stop! That’s right! Only $20 covers your ride and your beers. Spaces are limited and it’s first come, first serve. For more information visit

Brew, Bottle and Tap (835 Park Avenue – Orange Park – 904.375.9123) is now a Craft Beer Bottle Shop and homebrew supply store for Clay County!

Brew 5 Points (1024 Park St. – 904.374.5789) will be presenting a tap takeover with Sixpoint Brewing Company on May 14.

Brewer’s Pizza (14B Blanding Blvd – Orange Park – 904.276.5159) will be hosting the very first Jax Beer Society Members Event May 12 (Tues) from 6 to 9pm featuring a Collaboration with Orange Park’s Official Brew Crew:  Pinglehead Brewing Company, Brew Bottle and Tap and Harris Meadery.  At the event, Jax Beer Society Members will have access to special taps as well as a secret Brewer’s Menu.  We will be holding raffles throughout the evening. Every Beer sold to members will include a raffle ticket for a chance to win items including Bottled Beer and Brewery Swag.  Brew, Bottle and Tap will be holding a Brewing 101 Class along with Q & A Sessions. John Harris of Harris Meadery will be on site sampling his Mead to members and announcing his company’s launch!

Greenscape of Jacksonville, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enriching Jacksonville through planting, protecting and promoting trees, invites the Jacksonville community to its inaugural “Brews for Branches” fundraiser, a tree-themed craft beer event series aimed at raising awareness and funds for the organization. On May 15 (Fri), Bold City Brewery (2670 Rosselle St  – 904.379.6551) will be having a Pint Night to support a membership drive for Greenscape of Jacksonville. Food will be available and a raffle will be held for swag!

For many craft beer enthusiasts, being able to visit multiple breweries in one day is often the hardest part about enjoying local craft beer. The Brew Bus offers public brewery tours and private charter packages that visit all of the local breweries in the Jacksonville Area. The Brew Bus offers multiple all-inclusive tours each week where passengers can sample beer and get a behind the scenes look at brewery operations.

The departure location for Brew Bus tours will alternate weekly between Engine 15 Brewing Company and Bold City Brewery.

Intuition Ale Works (720 King Street – 904.683.7720) wants everyone to know that they can pre-order Mother’s Day Brewquets by visiting:

Brewquets are just $25 for a basket filled with beer, a t-shirt, koozies, souvenir glassware and more!

Last day to order is Wednesday, May 6th and brewquets will be ready for pick-up on May 9 (Sat).

Add on a copy of Cooking with Intuition, our cookbook, for $35! That’s $5 off the retail price. Learn more at

The Brew Bus began as a private charter service and quickly grew to offer weekly public tours. When they received a special license to serve alcohol on the bus, they couldn’t decide which local beer to feature so they made their own beer, Brew Bus Brewing, which is served on-board.

The Brew Bus Jacksonville offers public tours and private charters to local breweries in the greater Jacksonville area. To book your trip or learn more about The Brew Bus, visit

Silver Cow (1506 King Street – 904.379.6968) wants you to mark your calendars for Monday (May 11) for a very special night with Cigar City Brewing​! There will be a few special surprise taps and dinner specials for that evening. For more details check and

This month, make a “new choice” – establish your own emotional connection with craft beer – we look forward to your fellowship – and kindred passion for our industry.

About Regina Heffington