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Storm ahead: Craft brewery pushes eastward with arena deal

Clearwater-based Big Storm Brewing plans for a post-coronavirus future with its Orlando expansion.

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  • | 3:00 p.m. July 16, 2020
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Most live sports have gone on hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic, but Big Storm Brewing, a Clearwater-based craft beer company, is confident they’ll come back with a vengeance — and so will fans. 

The brewery — which produced, donated and sold large quantities of hand sanitizer at the height of the COVID-19 crisis, when beer sales declined due to shuttered bars and restaurants — has signed an agreement to open a 5,000-square-foot brewpub in Orlando’s Amway Center, home of the Orlando Magic NBA team and a venue for major concerts and other events. Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, The Killers and Marc Anthony are scheduled to perform there in the coming months, if the pandemic subsides. 

Big Storm’s latest expansion likely won’t be open until the end of the year, however, according to a press release. But the company intends to play the long game, signing a 10-year lease agreement. 

“We are excited to work with the City of Orlando to bring Big Storm’s award-winning brews to Central Florida,” Big Storm co-owner L.J. Govoni states in the release. “The city and Amway Center officials share our vision of offering sports fans, concertgoers and others the best experience possible. The city has been outstanding to work with and their out-of-the box thinking and approach has helped make this a reality.”

The brewpub will feature a fully operational brewery, the release states. Its restaurant will be accessible from inside the arena, but it will also feature an outside entrance so that it’s open to the public year round, not just on game and event days. 

Most of Big Storm’s core beers, including Tropic Pressure, Wavemaker, Bromosa and Palm Bender, will be served at the new location. But Govoni, via the release, says Big Storm might whip up some specialty brews that will be available only at Amway Center. 


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