Sanford beer scene thrives as owners unveil brewery No. 5

A group of Orlando investors plans to jump on the brewery train in downtown Sanford, in what will be the city’s fifth brewery.

In addition to the brewery, the group plans to open an artisan market with permeant vendors offering things like homemade bread, sushi, cigars, essentials oils and other locally created items.

The brewery, Wekiva Basin Brewing LLC (Facebook), has submitted plans the city of Sanford to construct a 3,500-square-foot brewery and tap room at 212W. 1st Street. About 2,300-square-feet would be available for vendors in the market area.

The 1.3-acre property was purchased Feb. 28 for $520,000 by 212 First St LLC, a company controlled Wekiva Basin Brewery partner Sean Kelley.

The location is is a pretty historic site. Trivia question: Who’s the president who helped break ground for a new train station downtown?

If you said Ulysses S. Grant, you’re right! (But seriously, how many of y’all said Grant?)

Continue reading below. Click to enlarge drawing
A proposed floor plan and the east elevation of the Wekiva Basin Brewery at 212 W 1st St. The site is the old train station. NOTE: The colors on the drawing are NOT proposed for the building. They were added to make the black and white drawing more visible on computer screens. CREDIT: BHM Architecture Inc.

Our 18th president attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the South Florida Railroad station on Jan. 10, 1880. While that station no longer stands, Wekvia Basin Brewery will occupy a depot that dates to 1940 according to the Seminole County Property Appraiser’s Office.

Kelley said the history of Sanford and the growing craft beer scene in downtown Sanford is what attracted him and his partners, Joe Buttice and J.T. Clark, to the train depot property.

“I feel like Sanford is really becoming a brewing town,” said Kelley. “There are other successful brewers here, and Sanford is centrally located so it can draw beer lovers from the beaches to south of Orlando.”

If Kelley and his partners open Wekiva Basin Brewery, and I don’t doubt that they will, it will mean Sanford will have five breweries within a 5 to 10 minute walking distance.

Two breweries are currently opened, Wops Hops Brewing Co. (Website | Facebook) and Sanford Brewing Co. (Website | Facebook) A third, Inner Compass Brewing Co. (Website | Facebook) is expected to open later this spring. A forth brewery, Deviant Wolfe Brewing Co., (Facebook)has received approvals from Sanford and hopes to open by the end of the year.

The depot building is approximately 4,950 square feet under roof. There is another 1,155 square feet of the elevated pad that is uncovered. Kelly said the plan is to build-out that section of the depot for the brewery. He said the company will also take advantage of the elevated loading dock for outdoor seating.

Jerry Mills of BHM Architecture Inc. is consulting on the project.

Kelley said the brewery itself  will NOT serve food. However, much like the Crooked Can Brewing Co. in Winter Garden, food purchased from vendors in the market can be brought in the taproom.

If you have a food or artisan type business looking for a permanent spot, Kelley wants to hear from you. The company is beginning to recruit vendors for the market space. Vendor booths will be customized and sized to meet each vendors needs.

Kelley, who owns Orlando-based Saint Lawerence Title, said the project is being financed with private equity.


What are your thoughts about this story?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.