New Kid on the Beach: Southern Swells Brewing Co. Opens Its Doors

This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of EU Jacksonville.

For the past ten years, Corey Adams and Jay Varney have been avid homebrewers with a passion for craft beer. Originally from Rhode Island, the two high school buddies brought their love of the craft with them when they relocated to Jacksonville in 2008. After putting down roots and starting families of their own, they decided to turn their hobby into a career four years ago, when they hatched the idea for a new brewery. In the time since, they’ve been working tirelessly to develop their skills as brewers and learn the ins and outs of the industry.

Southern Swells Brewing Co. joins the ranks of Engine 15, Green Room and Zeta Brewing, which means there are now as many taprooms at the Beaches as there are in the Urban Core, and brings the total number of commercial breweries in the Jacksonville area to ten (not counting the occasional brewpub). It may seem like a crowded market, but when compared to places like the Tampa Bay area, the tide is only beginning to rise. And Southern Swells has its sights set on distinguishing itself in the scene. “I feel that Southern Swells is a nice fit into an already awesome beer scene,” says Corey, the brewery’s Co-Founder and Brewery Operations Manager. “The demand and passion for craft beer runs throughout the city, and we hope to become an integral part of it’s continued growth.”


While the brewery’s sites are set on distribution to local accounts with the intent to begin canning within three years, their focus now is on delivering a stellar taproom experience. “Our vision is to have a friendly and inviting atmosphere where all guests, including families, feel welcome and relaxed regardless of their craft beer knowledge,” Corey explains. A mix of industrial and coastal design, the 7,500+ square foot taproom is split into three areas: the main bar area with high-top tables, an open space for activities with farmhouse-style tables, and an additional room for private events. With the taproom, Corey and Jay’s goal is to engage the local community by providing a space to host events for various groups and organizations and through programming that will include activities such as yoga and running clubs.


Their primary mission, however, is to brew great beer, which is scheduled to be available this Spring. While they intend to “run the gamut of styles,” a full sour and barrel-aging program is in their crosshairs. As with any new brewery, growth is always front of mind, but Southern Swells is dedicated to first delivering on quality and experience when it comes to their plan for success. As Corey puts it, “the sky is really the limit here, but as long as we are able to develop a strong brand that allows Jacksonville residents and visitors to associate Southern Swells with high quality craft beer and an exceptional taproom experience, we will be more than happy.”


Visit Southern Swells Brewing Co.’s new taproom at 1312 Beach Boulevard just down the road from the original Engine 15.


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