Tampa was widely considered the "wettest dry county in Florida" during prohibition, where historical Florida Brewing Company continued to produce beer for soldiers at Fort Brooke and immigrants around Ybor. It was not until the embargo on Cuba and the owner Salvador Martinez Ybor being jailed that eventually closed their doors forever. Major companies like Anheuser-Busch buried their roots in Tampa in 1961. It was not until local Tampan Joey Redner started Cigar City Brewing in 2007 that a mission to tell the history and culture of Tampa through beer was launched. Cigar City Brewing has since grown to exceed its initial goal of 5,000 barrels a year to over 90,000 barrels a year. The brewery follows in the footsteps of Florida Brewing Company and is situated close to the historic Ybor district of Tampa.
Brewmaster Wayne Wambles and Joey Redner produced their first batch of "Maduro" to represent the roots of Ybor and to demonstrate how the taste and packing of the can evoke the cigar rolling industry. Since then, Cigar City Brewing Company is often credited with sparking the interest of craft brew across the state. Tampa has grown to become home to dozens of craft breweries. Tampa has now become the city with the highest concentration of craft breweries in the state!
The brewery's other year-round beers encapsulate the history and culture of Tampa. Their most popular beer, "Jai-Alai," is named in honor of the game and its popularity in Tampa throughout the twentieth century. "Guayabera" was named after the Cuban summer shirt of the same name. Their beer Invasion was inspired by the piracy and raiders that sailed through Tampa's ports. Finally, Their "Florida Cracker" beer takes its roots to the cattle-raising industry and is the oldest state in the country to do so, even older than Texas! Distribution for the brewery has since expanded to over thirty states, spreading the history of Tampa along with it.
Cigar City Brewing is still growing and has been the recipient of multiple awards from the Best Florida Beer Festival and The United States Beer Tasting Championships. Visitors can come and visit the location for a guided tour around the facility where they can learn the brewing process and sample their historical beers. Cigar City Brewing and other breweries in the Tampa Bay area have provided a significant impact on the community through events year-round to make the city the major hub for craft beer.