New Year – New Flavors: Crook & Marker

Crook & Marker Logo Black-01

While the spiked and sparkling category seems to grow more crowded by the minute, Crook & Marker offers drinkers something different.  While some beverages have intense flavor with a price tag of high calories and carbohydrates, Crook & Marker’s beverages are offering a taste that drinkers can indulge in with only 80 calories.

From the creative mind that brought the world Bai Antioxidant Beverages, Crook & Marker takes great care to distinguish themselves from the rest of the spiked and sparkling beverages available by creating a fruit-inspired spiked beverage with a flavorful fruit burst, no gluten, and 80 calories.

Crook & Marker Various packs

What's inside Crook & Marker?

 

Crook & Marker drinks exist at the intersection of tasty and guiltless beverages.  Their drinks are the only spiked and sparkling beverages made with organic alcohol and zero sugar.  The Crook & Marker formula uses ancient grains like quinoa, amaranth, and millet, along with cassava root, to create organic alcohol that the company calls BaseBrew.  From there, the BaseBrew is paired with luscious fruit flavors that bring the zing of fruit with zero grams of sugar, 80 calories, and less than one net carbohydrate. The drinks are sweetened from natural sources, certified organic, and vegan.  Crook & Marker beverages contain four percent alcohol by volume and are available in 11.5oz cans of single flavors and variety packs.

 

Crook & Marker uses fruit in both conventional and innovative fruit combinations to leave the curious wanting to try just one more sip.  From black cherry at the pool’s edge to mango on the beach, blackberry lime while stargazing, or strawberry lemon around a campfire, Crook & Marker’s flavors, not their calories, are the most memorable part.

 

Look for Crook & Marker beverages in wide release during the month of January.  These beverages will be available throughout Team Cone’s entire 22-county footprint in the state of Florida.  Pick one up today and see what unbound flavor tastes like.

Crook & Marker Flavor Rainbow

Team Cone’s 2019 Christmas Giveaway is here: Maple Bacon Christmas

Last year, Team Cone gave away some really special items to our community for Christmas 2018.

Holly Leaves

Santa has really been loving his breakfast this year, though.

Funky Buddha Maple Bacon Coffee Porter

In his newfound love for all things breakfast, Santa has rather enjoyed Maple Bacon Coffee Porter from Funky Buddha Brewery, and he had a new idea – what better way to enjoy this beer than at the brewery fresh from the source???   It’s time for MAPLE BACON CHRISTMAS 2018!

In that spirit, Santa wants to see how much everyone enjoys the beers from his friends at Funky Buddha Brewery!  To enter for a chance to win a trip to Funky Buddha Brewery for Maple Bacon Coffee Porter Day on January 12th, 2019, all you have to do is post a picture of you and your favorite Funky Buddha beer between now and December 23rd!  Every unique post on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM with the hashtag #maplebaconchristmas2018 between now and December 23rd will be considered an entry – limit one per person per day!  On Christmas Eve, while Santa is getting ready for his worldwide work, we will announce the winner of the sweepstakes.  The winner can then come to our office and pick up what he or she has won!

WHAT COULD YOU WIN??

TWO (2) VIP Tickets to Maple Bacon Coffee Porter Festival
TWO (2) nights lodging in Fort Lauderdale, Florida – Friday and Saturday
TWO (2) cases of Maple Bacon Coffee Porter (included with ticket)

Santa loves Maple Bacon Coffee Porter

The winner will be chosen randomly FROM TWITTER OR INSTAGRAM, so the more UNIQUE posts you make, the better your chances to win!  Just REMEMBER to have your privacy settings set to allow others to see your posts and tag each daily post with the hashtag #maplebaconchristmas2018.

Funky Buddha Maple Bacon Coffee Christmas 2018

 

Happy Holidays, Happy Posting, and GOOD LUCK!

Want to learn more about Funky Buddha Brewery? Click here.

Want more info on Maple Bacon Coffee Porter Day? Click here.

For Full Sweepstakes Terms and Conditions, click here.

Team Cone Fall Rib Sale 2018 raises $4,500 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Ocala, FL – Ocala- and Tallahassee-based beer distributor Cone Distributing (Team Cone) raised over $4,500 on Saturday, December 1st through the company’s semi-annual rib sale.

Event organizer Ben Whiting says that he is grateful that this event can bring together the community and raise money to make a difference in children’s and family’s lives.  Whiting also extends his thanks to Martin’s Yamaha of Ocala who graciously hosted the event this year.

“We look forward to the Fall Rib Sale every year,” says Team Cone Vice President of Operations Steve Beckwith.  “Ben and his team do a great job of putting together an event that brings members of the community together to have a great time and raise funds to donate to St. Jude.”

This is the second year that Team Cone has held their Fall Rib Sale to benefit St. Jude, and the event and the charitable donation it raises has grown larger each time.

Through events held in Team Cone’s 22 county footprint, the company was able to make a $51,000 donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 2017.  Currently, the company will break their own fundraising record thanks to events like the Fall Rib Sale 2018 and the upcoming December 9th Ocala Golf Tournament and December 9th Tallahassee Bingo Tournament.

Team Cone Rib Sale 2018
Team Cone teammates and community members gather together to support St. Jude at the Rib Sale 2018.

St.-Jude Logo

About Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, is one of the world’s premier centers for the research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases. Children from all 50 states and from around the world have come through the doors of St. Jude for treatment, and thousands more around the world have benefited from the research conducted at St. Jude – research that is shared freely with the global medical community. No family ever pays St. Jude for anything.

About Cone Distributing

Founded by Douglas P. Cone, Jr. in 1985, Cone Distributing (Team Cone) began business with selling five brands of beer in four rural counties. Less than two years later, the company began expanding territory and suppliers and has not stopped since, building the largest geographic footprint in the state for a Florida beer distributor. Today Team Cone sells beer from over 40 suppliers in 22 Florida counties from a state-of-the-art facility in Ocala and a facility in Tallahassee. Cone Distributing’s goal is to operate a World Class company, distinguishing itself by doing the Right Thing the Right Way All the Time.

Enjoy some great Labor Day beers!

As the season of summer comes to an end on the calendar, Labor Day offers one last chance to get together with friends and family at the pool, the beach, the river, or the park before September and October rattle through into winter time and relatively cooler temperatures.  In preparation for those final pool parties, beach days, picnics, and tubing sessions, choosing the right beer can make Labor Day shindigs that much better and brighter.  The right ale or lager can add depth and complexity to any dish and the Labor Day cookout is no exception.

 

Here are a few ideas for Labor Day beers that can endure the Florida sun and keep the party going:

Samuel Adams Oktoberfest on ice

 

For the Grillmasters: Samuel Adams Oktoberfest (5.3% ABV) The toasty malt in this amber-colored lager will be enough to match flavors with burgers, dogs, and pulled pork while maintaining a relatively low alcohol content.  Try one with your favorite bacon cheeseburger, slider, or sausage and see how many layers of flavor this beer really shows.

Coppertail Brewing Independent Pilsner

 

For the Football fans: Coppertail Brewing Independent Pilsner (5.5% ABV) College football is finally kicking off for the season – watch parties and football days are back.  Why spoil these events with inter-team rivalries?  Tampa’s Coppertail Brewing has a beer that doesn’t take sides!  Independent Pilsner is light in body but with a touch of hops and a clean finish.  And those tater tots, nachos, or jalapeño poppers?  Independent Pilsner will not get in the way of any savory halftime snack.

 

Dogfish Head SeaQuench next to the pool

For the Pool partiers: Dogfish Head SeaQuench (4.9% ABV) For those who want to get a few days poolside, SeaQuench has you covered.  This beer is a hybrid of three light-bodied styles of beer and has a citrus presence and touch of salt.  Those of who might like a low-country boil and/or cedar-plank salmon are in luck also – SeaQuench was specifically designed to pair with seafood.

 

For the Beachgoers and boaters: Swamp Head Brewery Hydroslide Kolsch (4.9% ABV) For those who’re looking to get in touch with mother nature in the motorboat, canoe, kayak, or water shoes, Gainesville’s own Swamp Head Brewery’s summer classic Hydroslide Kolsch is made for weekends like this.  Dry-hopped for aroma, this light-bodied ale will quench a thirst and go well with virtually any picnic or cookout food.

Abita Purple Haze

 

For the Bonfire/ Mallow roasters: Abita Brewing’s Purple Haze (4.2% ABV) While some insist that a s’more has to be roasted over a campfire, the oppressive heat of Florida summer cannot be understated.  Whether you decide to roast marshmallows outside or make indoor s’mores in the oven, try some chocolate and sweetness with Abita Brewing’s Purple Haze.  This wheat lager has an addition of raspberries added to it so that anything sweet and chocolatey will gain the berry flavor.  So basic chocolate s’mores become raspberry chocolate s’mores.  Chocolate bars become raspberry chocolate bars, and so on.

 

To find these fine ales and lagers, please click over to our Beer Finder.

 

Cheers to Labor Day, football season kicking off, and enjoying a day with friends and family.  Please enjoy the day and enjoy it responsibly.

 

The Brewer’s Story: Halpatter Brewing Company

Lake City’s Halpatter Brewing Company became one of Florida’s youngest distributing breweries when they signed with Team Cone in August of 2018.  The brewery came to fruition in December 2018, the work of three aspiring homebrewers, their families, and the beer-loving community that surrounds them.

Halpatter Brewing Company of Lake City Exterior
Exterior view of Halpatter Brewing Company

Origin story

When brothers-in-law Chris Candler and Jeremy Gable decided that they would make their own beer, they did not foresee the beginnings of Lake City’s first craft brewery – their only goal was to make great beer and share it with friends.  Candler, who had lived in Lake City for 22 years, and his brother in law who lived in Saint Petersburg began conversing over a few beers.  Those brewing sessions led the two friends to debate the merits of opening their own beer-making operation.  Those talks led to speculation and planning what they would do if they were to open one.  “We found that over a relatively short period of time, we were making pretty decent homebrew,” Chris remembers. “The story goes that Jeremy and I came up with the name ‘Halpatter Brewing’ in 2013 with no intention of opening a brewery.  It was a joke. We never thought it would happen.”  Chris and Jeremy knew that opening and running any business would be challenging, since Chris has been in the world of small business for 25 years.  Jeremy’s skills as a graphic designer would be an asset to the brewery, but the guys would procrastinate on taking any action. For the brewery to work, the duo would require someone with more brewing experience.  Unbeknownst to Chris and Jeremy, that someone was already brewing in Lake City at that very moment.

The missing piece

Fate intervened in the creation of Halpatter Brewing when one day, Chris opened a local magazine that wrote a story about accomplished Lake City native and homebrewer Jonny Frazier.  “We actually met Jonny out of the blue in 2015,” Chris recalls. “At the time, I was sitting in my garage brewing by myself, and I saw there was another homebrewer in town.”  Chris first wanted to meet up and brew with Jonny and was more interested in a kindred spirit to brew with than a head brewer for Halpatter Brewing.  “I called him up and asked him, ‘Let’s just get together and brew,’” Chris says of his first talk with Jonny.  “That was in May. We brewed twice with Jonny and we knew that we had to make the brewery a reality.  By October, we were working on starting the brewery.  He [Jonny] was the missing piece to the puzzle.”  Halpatter Brewing now had a trio of founders, each lending their specific talents to the business.

Jonny Frazier may have been the third member of the Halpatter Brewing founders, but he also brought brewing experience and knowledge from his previous job as an automation engineer.  “Jonny built the brewery’s brewing system himself.  He did all of the welding, all of the programming – all himself,” explains Chris. “We use a fully-automated batch-processing seven-barrel brewing system.  Jonny built it all with touch-screen automation – touch a button and it will brew a batch of beer and it will hold temperature within half a degree.” But Jonny didn’t stop at the brewing system.  “Jonny also built our keg washer, our grain mill, and so much of the equipment.” From the time he started, Jonny Frazier’s impact on Halpatter Brewing Company went beyond simply brewing the beer.

Halpatter Brewing Company Founders
Halpatter Brewing Company founders – from left, Jonny Frazier, Chris Candler, and Jeremy Gable

 

Success before opening

In February 2016, Halpatter Brewing Company poured at their first beer festival and that was the moment the trio knew this venture was destined for success.  “We had 1,000 people turn out to the first craft beer festival here in town,” says Chris.  “We had said that if the craft beer festival went well, then we would know we have a market in Lake City and we’ll pull the trigger on the brewery and go for it.”  Well, the festival went very well, and the festival-goers loved Halpatter’s beer and the idea of a Lake City craft brewery. From there, Chris likens the brewery’s momentum to a “wagon full of rocks rolling downhill.  We couldn’t have stopped it if we wanted to.”  Before they even opened, the brewery had close to 3,000 fans on Facebook.  “We have been very blessed with the community being behind us on this thing in a big way.”

Make the building into a brewery

Once the founding trio found a home for the brewery, Halpatter Brewing Company started renovations and construction in June of 2017 and opened in December 1st of 2017.

The home that the guys found for Halpatter Brewing Company solidified the brewery as one of the premier hangout spots in Lake City, and also allowed the brewery to save a piece of local history.  “We have become the gathering spot in Lake City where people come and hang out,” says Chris.  Part of that reputation is based on the location and building the owners chose for the brewery.  The building itself was constructed in 1939 and completed in 1940 as Lake City’s city hall and had been repurposed for several other uses.  The building was sitting dormant and the brewery saved the building from possibly being torn down.  Much of the original building is still intact; the brewery only blew out one wall and the bones of the building are mostly intact.  Chris, Jeremy, and Jonny then added a few more local touches to the tasting room: all of the metal accents are old fire escapes from the Blanche Hotel in Lake City (the hotel is currently under renovation to turn it into condominiums, so the guys were allowed to go in and pull out all of the fire escapes and repurpose them into tables).

Who was “Halpatter”?

Chris says that he and Jeremy were deliberate in their choice of brewery names.  “The name of the brewery comes from the Seminole chief Halpatter Tustenuggee, that means ‘Warrior Chief Alligator,’ and he and his group were the first settlers in this area,” Chris says of the brewery’s namesake.  These settlers lived right at the base of Lake DeSoto, which sits one block away from the brewery.  There’s a sign in town that says that this is the site of the original settlement of Alligator Village. After the white settlers came to town, the area was renamed Lake City by the Florida Legislature in 1864.

Chris has researched the city’s history and is excited for the brewery to take part in Lake City’s future.  “Lake City was the fourth largest metropolitan area in Florida at one point,” Chris says.  “There are two active railroad lines that come through Lake City – one north and south and one east and west.  We were where everybody stopped.  Back in the 1920s, we were bigger than Miami.  When the interstate came in, the growth just went elsewhere.”  Downtown Lake City is growing, too.  I’d like to think that we’re helping to bring 750-1000 unique guests into the town each week.  We’re seeing a huge rebirth in downtown Lake City.  I’m proud to be a part of that, if not a tour de force in helping build that.

Bringing Lake City into the beerHalpatter Brewing Company

Part of Lake City’s proud past is brought to light by the brewery’s choice of beer names, Chris is proud to say.  Every one of the beers in Halpatter’s “Starting Lineup” has a tie to local history.

O’Leno Cream Ale is Halpatter Brewing’s lightest beer and is named for the town of O’Leno, which is now a state park.

Old School Session IPA is named for the roots of the University of Florida, which has roots in Lake City.

Seymour Finn’s Irish Red “Truman Seymour and Joseph Finnegan were the commanding generals at the Battle of Olustee, the largest Civil War battle fought in Florida, which happened about 20 miles east of here,” says Chris.

Big Hal Imperial Brown is a dry-hopped American Brown Ale which tells the story of Halpatter Tustenuggee.

Sixteen Springfields DIPA – Tells the story of sixteen rifles that were thrown into that lake after the Civil War and were recovered.  “We’re working on getting one of them to display at the brewery,” Chris says.

The biggest problem is success

Chris recalls opening day and the work that came afterward.  “When we first opened, the reception was crazy.”  Chris says that the brewery’s tasting room sold more than two times the amount of beer that he had projected.  The guys were “expecting a dip in the summer, so we could catch up.” Despite expectations, the brewery had their strongest month of sales in June 2018.  After that, “July won’t be as good as June, but it will be our 2nd or 3rd busiest month so far.”  So much for a slow summer for the Lake City Brewery.

 

The keg hallway at Halpatter Brewing Company
The keg hallway at Halpatter Brewing Company – left side holds kegs ready to be filled and the right side holds kegs ready to clean.

Chris also admits that “until this month, we’ve been scrambling just to keep up.”  He illustrates this point with a visual: “In the hallway downstairs, we stack the kegs – clean ones on the left and dirty ones on the right.  We barely have time to clean the kegs to fill them.  It’s been like this since we started.  Our biggest struggle has been to deal with unanticipated success. We thought we’d be able to run the brewery with seven employees.  We’ve already had to hire sixteen to keep up.”  Chris admits that one of Halpatter Brewing Company’s biggest challenges has been success.  “We’ll have beers that take two weeks to brew that are selling out in nine days.  The brewery doubled production capacity in its first six months of operation and only supplies the tasting room.  It’s been nuts – it’s a permanent grin plastered across my face, but it’s been a crazy successful venture up to this point.”

 

Beer from a small town for small towns

Chris says that Halpatter Brewing Company has roots in Lake City and is excited to sell beer in towns like Lake City all over Florida.  While Jacksonville and Miami look nice, “We see our market as small towns.  We want to be that everyman brewery – that’s how we were born.”  Chris hopes the story of Halpatter and their hometown will carry into other small hometowns in the state.  “We want to be in Steinhatchee, Apalachicola, and coastal towns.  We want to be in Starke and Live Oak and I think that’s where our story will resonate – a small-town brewery selling beer to small-town folks.”

In fact, Chris says that one of his favorite victories that the brewery has scored is helping to revitalize downtown Lake City.  “I think we put out great beer, but my favorite thing to do personally is sit on the deck on a Friday night, watching the parking lot fill up and watching people come into downtown.  It used to be that we had one restaurant and maybe fifty people downtown on a Friday night.  Now we’ll pack the house tonight – the parking lot’s full.  It’s great to watch.”

 

Halpatter Brewing Company proudly signs distribution with Team Cone
Halpatter Brewing Company proudly signs distribution with Team Cone