SOPCHOPPY, Fla. (WTXL) — The first brewing company is coming to Wakulla County.
Civic Brewing Company is expected to open in the next couple of weeks in downtown Sopchoppy. Owner Elliot Seilder said he's excited to be the newest addition to a community he calls home.
"My first job ever was in this building when it was backwoods pizza," Seiler said.
Seilder was born in St. Marks, but moved to the Sopchoppy area as a kid. He went to the University of Florida and Florida State University for school and then joined the Navy.
When he got out, he attended UC Davis in California at a prestigious brewing school.
He said he wanted to open his first brewery in Wakulla County because there's "no place like home".
Many of the nearby businesses are ready for the customers this new store could bring.
"The brewery I think is going to be a magnet in a lot of ways," the Owner of Oyster Boss Jeff Telly said.
Telly said he opened a retail store to keep his business going through the pandemic and new customers from Civic Brewing Company would help him.
According to the Brewers Association, breweries made up $82.9 billion in the U.S. economy in 2019. In Florida, the number the same year was $3.9 billion.
"Our state is actually in the top five for nationwide impact in this industry, so we're really looking forward to being part of that success story," Julie Dennis, Wakulla County economic development council, said.
She said small businesses in the area were hit because of the lack of tourism from the pandemic, which is why this brewery has been a sense of hope for many to rebound.
"It'll be nice to see everything coming back and it being a thriving town again," Seidler said. "I mean, that was one of the main reasons I did this because that's something I want to see."
Seidler said more new businesses are already coming in with a bakery opening up right next door to him in 2022.