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Leading the Craft Revolution with Simple, Honest, Delicious Beer

By Elisha Neubauer

There are fads, and then there are revolutions. There are those who stand by and watch, and there are those who stand up, take charge, and lead the way into a new pattern. Leading the charge into the craft beer revolution in central Florida is Barley Mow Brewing Company, manned by Jay and Colleen Dingman.

"My wife Colleen and I came up with the idea for Barley Mow in the summer of 2010," explains Dingman. "We were both avid home brewers working in the hospitality industry and felt that Florida was ready for a craft beer revolution. We had no idea how right we were!" Dingman had originally gotten his feet wet with craft beers in the late '90s, as a college student in Upstate New York. His path took him to Boulder, Colorado after graduation, once again, putting him in the middle of the craft beer phenomenon.

"The craft scene was in full swing with dozens of breweries around the Denver area," states Dingman. "After that, I moved on to Portland which was (and still is) the craft beer capital of the US." Dingman's wife and business partner, Colleen, also found her college years interspersed with the substance.

"Colleen also discovered better beer while in college," Dingman detailed. "She spent most of her four years at OSU working at one of the premier craft bars in Columbus."

The couple didn't cross paths until they were both Florida locals. In which case, Dingman tells us, beer immediately became a focal point in the relationship. "After meeting in Florida, beer played a large role in our courtship and it quickly became obvious that we needed to take a run at starting our own brewery," he told us.

Instead of taking the usual route, building a brewery and putting in a tasting room, the Dingmans decided to do it a little differently: buy a bar and then put in a brewery. "We purchased our first location in August of 2011 and have been growing ever since," Dingman recounts. There are now two locations, the tavern and the production brewery. "We set out to try and recreate the feel and beers of some of our favorite breweries from up north and out west."

Today, Barley mow Brewing Company focuses on traditional styles, but with a twist. They Dingmans often add their own interpretations to the mix. "Most of our beers are ho-forward, full flavored ales," Dingman states. "We also work with a lot of non-traditional ingredients like chocolate, Serrano peppers and fresh citrus." Dingman tells us that they currently brew seventy-five different styles a year at their tavern location and twenty-two different beers for distribution at the production brewery location. "Throughout all we do," says Dingman, "We always try to stay true to our hospitality roots and offer some of the best customer service in the industry both at our tavern and in the market."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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