"Slow down, you're here." That's the motto you'll commonly see and hear when visiting or reading about Grayton Beer Company.
"That's really the foundation of our brand," head brew master Tyler White says. "What we want you to experience, whether you are drinking a beer here or in another market, is stopping to enjoy the moment."
Grayton Beer Company, which is going into its fourth season, is located at 217 Serenoa Road in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. The now successful brewery is the vision of Jamey Price, who started his journey towards opening Grayton Beer Company in 2011, although his love of craft beer dates back to his college days at Ole Miss. Price moved to the beach in 2006 and as the old cliche goes, the rest is history.
The Brew Crew: (from left) Tyler, Josh, Crawford, Devin, Mike. These fine folks are the faces behind the tasty brews at Grayton Beer Company.
Grayton Beer Company showcases six beers year round — 30A Beach Blonde Ale, 1890s Founder's Ale, White Dunes, Pale Ale, Fish Whistle IPA, and Salt of the Gulf. In addition to their core lineup, White says there's always something special in the works, such as their barrel-aged project, which will see carefully blended flavors tucked inside champagne-style bottles, complete with a cork and cage.
"There's going to be numbers on the bottles, so it will be more of a specialty product," says White, who has been with Grayton Beer Company since it opened.
When you look at the Grayton Beer lineup, the goal was to create something for everyone, something that even the casual beer drinker can relate to. A perfect example is the Beach Blonde Ale, which was crafted with the average beer drinker in mind.
"Historically, they will come down to the beach and purchase a bunch of Bud Light," White says, "so we, as a local brewery, offer them something that's not necessarily copying those light beers, but something that fits the flavor profile in bitterness and color. We want to give those drinkers an option that has a little more soul in it."
Think of it this way. White likens the Beach Blonde to a handshake — an introduction into the craft beer world. "We're basically saying, 'hey, come try this craft beer thing out.'"
Then the goal is to pull them into other options with a bit more flavor, variety of styles. Part of a brew masters job is to create beers that not only they can be proud of, but beers that others will like.
For brew master Josh Gauger, who has been with Grayton Beer Company for two years, it's not about what he likes, for the most part.
"The first brewer I worked with, who taught me how to do this, gave me good advice," he says. "He said, 'don't make beer for yourself, you've got to make beer for other people.'"
And that's definitely not a problem for the folks at Grayton Beer Company. The brewery's taproom, which is child and pet friendly, has proven to be a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. What can be better than enjoying an ice cold beer with a working brewery serving as the backdrop?
Add in some great local music, and that's all she wrote. It's not uncommon to see the likes of local favorites Heritage or the Graytones performing a live set. Heck, Grayton Beer Company also offers up yoga and trivia on a regular basis.
But at the end of the day, it's still all about the beer.
"None of this is work worth doing unless you are passionate about it," White says. "What makes it worth it is the craftsmanship behind it and producing something we can stand behind and the enjoyment it gives other people."
For more information about Grayton Beer Company visit their website, find them on Facebook or give them a call at 850-231-4786.