Happy Cheese Lover’s Day from cheese’s best friend – BEER

Cheese Lover’s Day comes around each year – a day to celebrate what happens to milk as it becomes a few layers more awesome. Cheese Lover’s Day is also a day that is best celebrated with a gift from one of the few liquids that will make cheese more enjoyable – beer!

Few flavors pair as naturally with cheese like good beer, and for Cheese Lover’s Day, we have a few suggestions for your cheese-pairing delight:

(Note: all of these cheeses and most of these beers are available at local supermarkets and cheese stores.)

Cheese Pairing: Swamp Head Brewery Wild Night with Wensleydale Yorkshire Apricot



Swamp Head Brewery Wild Night Honey Cream Ale and Wensleydale Creamery’s Yorkshire Wensleydale & Apricots cheese: The sweetness of Swamp Head Brewery’s Wild Night Honey Cream Ale matches well with the creamy English cheese from Wensleydale. The blend of apricots in the cheese provides a slightly tart counterpoint to the beer. The light body and sweet finish in the beer dance well with the fruit in this mild cheese both finishing with a sensation that the blend of the two is greater than the sum of their parts.



Funky Buddha Floridian Hefeweizen with Publix Honey Goat Cheese




Funky Buddha Floridian and Publix Deli Honey Goat Cheese: The phrase “goat cheese” can conjure many different images in the listener’s mind, but this particular goat cheese is mild with a honey sweetness that cuts through the flavor profile of the cheese and pairs well with a hefeweizen like Funky Buddha Brewery’s Floridian. The light orange and sweetness of Funky Buddha’s signature beer leave plenty of room for the cheese to express the honey and some mild funk while making it a bit sweeter in the end and blending the final flavors wonderfully.



Sierra Nevada Pale Ale with Yancey's Fancy Hatch Chile Cheddar



Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Yancey’s Fancy Hatch Chile Cheddar Cheese: Whenever a cheese contains peppers of any spice level, it screams out for a hoppy ale to accompany it, and this duo is no exception. Yancey’s Fancy Hatch Chile Cheddar is from a wonderful creamery in New York that does this particular cheese well – it is not overly spicy, it simply has notes of earthy hatch chiles. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale brings the hops to the party which provide a bitterness that can cut through some of the vegetal pepper notes and bring in the caramel flavors, too. The end result has sweet character from the Pale Ale’s malted barley, some sharp notes from the chiles, and bitterness from the beer that allows the sharpness of the cheddar to join the flavor of the pairing as well.



Coppertail Brewing Unholy Trippel with Tennessee Whiskey Bellla Vitano



Coppertail Brewing’s Unholy Trippel with Sartori’s Tennessee Whiskey Bella Vitano: This pairing may seem a bit counter-intuitive, but trying will eliminate any doubt. Coppertail’s Unholy Trippel brings in some slight earthy character and an American hoppiness that just gets to the heart of the cheese. The Whiskey Bella Vitano has a great deal of vanilla character that just gets to the heart of the Unholy Trippel, with the hops leading everyone to the dance floor. The final flavor is an unusual but intriguing mix of funk from the Trippel, sweetness from the whiskey aging, and creaminess from the cheese.


Whatever your favorite flavors, we invite you to try a new cheese and pair it with a beer of your choice, looking for the best out of the pairing. Click here for our beer finder, where you can find your next favorite beer.



About Cheese Lover’s Day:
A day to celebrate cheese? Absolutely!
While there is no firm evidence of how cheese making was discovered. but legend tells us it was likely by chance that someone created the first cheese. Thousands of years ago, people transported milk and stored it in sheep’s stomachs. Left to sit a few days, the proteins would separate into curds and whey. From there, preserving the solids with salt may have seemed a logical next step. Salt was a highly valued preservative in ancient times.

How to celebrate Cheese Lover’s Day: Enjoy some cheese with your lunch or as a snack. Share your favorite cheesy recipes or puns. Try a new cheese pairing. Visit your favorite cheesemonger and be sure to give a shout out, too. Use #CheeseLoversDay to post on social media.

Win a YEAR supply of White Claw Hard Seltzer

With the start of a new year, Team Cone is hosting sweepstakes to win a year of White Claw Hard Seltzer.

White Claw Hard Seltzer, the hottest-selling brand of hard seltzer on the market, has been taking the world by storm and someone in Florida could potentially win a supply of White Claw Hard Seltzer for twelve months!

What’s different about this sweepstakes?

In most sweepstakes, there is a great prize, but entries come from all over the United States or the world. In this sweepstakes, the prize is still great, but in order to win, the winner MUST pick up his or her prize from either Ocala or Tallahassee, limiting contestants’ eligibility.

How to Enter:

Simply visit the sweepstakes website HERE and enter information for the chance to be drawn randomly as a winner.  The winner will be chosen on or around February 28th and will be given the chance to come to Team Cone’s offices in either Ocala or Tallahassee to claim his or her prize. (Note: anyone chosen as a winner must pick up their prize in person at one of Team Cone’s facilities.) Want an extra chance to win? Use the sweepstakes website to tweet out a message about the contest.



One year of White Claw Hard Seltzer is calculated to one (1) six-pack of product per week, which equals fifty-two (52) six-packs per year. Cases of White Claw Hard Seltzer contain four (4) six-packs, so the final winner will be awarded a prize of thirteen (13) cases of White Claw Hard Seltzer.

Once selected, the winner(s) will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to respond, or another winner will be selected.

For complete contest rules and terms, please visit the contest website HERE.






For updates on the sweepstakes, giveaways, new products, and other information, follow Team Cone on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, & LinkedIn.


Win a Year of White Claw Hard Seltzer! Sweepstakes Flier

The Brewer’s Story: Oyster City Brewing Company

The beginning of Oyster City Brewing Company

The story of Oyster City Brewing Company starts with Rex, Cassie, and Susan, who own the Owl Café in Apalachicola. They opened up a bar called The Tap Room, and people kept coming in and asking,” what’s your local beer?” At that time there wasn’t one. After hearing that question many times, the trio began to ponder what it would really take to open a brewery in the Oyster City. The first step was a home for this new business, so they began acquiring the building across from the Owl Café. The answer was not far from the café.

Welcome to Apalachicola sign

In a previous life, the building had been a bar called The Oasis. “It was an old Florida bar where the all the shrimpers and fishermen came to, and the city had outgrown it,” says Oyster City Brewing’s Director of Operations Clayton Mathis. “The building was closed up and was available.” Since the building was built as a bar and not a brewery, a few adjustments had to be made, but the group had found a home for Apalachicola’s first local brewery.

After acquiring the building, the brewery needed someone to steer the brewing. The group hired brewer Jamie Ray as a consultant in 2013. Ray has brewed beer all over the United States, and he would help Oyster City with their initial launch and then return to work for the brewery in 2019. The ownership group worked with Ray and started brewing test batches of beer while they were converting the Oasis building into the home of Oyster City Brewing Company.

It took over eight months to get the building ready for its new life as Apalachicola’s local brewery. Once the building was ready, the team installed fermenters and their brewhouse and set to work.  The first official beer of Oyster City Brewing was Hooter Brown Ale. Clayton remembers that, “Jamie came in and worked on the recipe for a brown ale and used Tupelo honey – it was so abundant back in 2013-2014.” After some tweaks, Hooter Brown Ale was born. “That is what Oyster City is, though. It was built on Hooter Brown.”


Grand Opening

Oyster City Brewing Company opened in June of 2014, selling beer on tap and sending beer into distribution. As a brewery favorite and Oyster City’s first beer, Hooter Brown was the first beer sent out in both cans and kegs, followed by Mill Pond Dirty Blonde, then shortly afterward Apalach IPA.

In 2015, after establishing himself as a brewer and working through the jobs in the brewery, Clayton became the brewery’s Director of Operations and helped to shape Oyster City’s core lineup of beers.


Oyster City Brewing’s core beer lineup now consists of:

Oyster City Hooter Brown Ale


Hooter Brown Ale: A robust ale made with local honey harvested upriver at Owl Creek. Full-bodied and easy-drinking thanks to rich honey and chocolate malts.



Oyster City Brewing Mangrove Pale Ale



Mangrove Pale Ale with Mango: Classic pale ale with malty body, hopped with Centennial and Cascade hops. Fermented with mangoes reminiscent of heavenly days spent in tropical climes.


Oyster City Brewing Apalach IPA


Apalach IPA: An IPA with caramel malt body with appearances by centennial, citra, chinook hops.




Oyster City Brewing Mill Pond Dirty Blonde Ale


Mill Pond Dirty Blonde: An “almost easy ale” with a well-balanced, crafty malt structure and hopped with Ahtanum hops. Pairs well with oysters, sunny beaches, and salt water.



Oyster City Brewing Tate's Helles


Tate’s Helles German-style Lager: “Hell-Us” for English speakers means “a light one.” Pacifica hops from New Zealand add a hint of orange marmalade flavor. Named after Tate’s Hell State Forest.



The brewery steadily grew larger and keeping up with the volume of beer that their fans demanded grew to be a challenge, so the team enlisted the help of Lakeland, Florida-based Brew Hub to help make some of Oyster City’s core beer. This would allow the brewers to focus on making seasonal and limited beers both for the taproom and limited distribution. “We have been able to establish a schedule for seasonal beers and we have released Red Right Return Amber Ale and First Light of Day Golden Ale that will see distribution in 2020. This year was the first year of seasonals, and we were able to establish a good schedule for them,” Clayton insists. “We released a lot more seasonal beer this year. We also have a Raspberry Hibiscus Berliner Weisse, our Red Snapper IPA, which is an IPA with beets, and we’re getting set week to brew Oktoberfest beers. We want to keep our brewers doing something fun and exciting.”


Oyster City Brewing Company tap handles
Oyster City tap handles are each made in Apalachicola and are oyster rakes.

Working Oyster City into the beer

From the beginning, the ownership group knew that the brewery’s roots within its home city ran deep. With its home in a bar loved by boat captains, its owners rooted in the community, and its beers ready to help tell the story of Apalachicola, the brewery’s name came from the area’s fame for Gulf oysters. Originally, the owners were going to name the brewery after its home city but kept pondering. “So, instead of naming the brewery Apalachicola Brewing Company, they chose to call it Oyster City Brewing,” recalls Clayton. “At that time, the oyster population was higher, but Apalachicola provided 90% of Florida’s oysters and 10% of the U.S.’s oysters.”

As the city’s first brewery, Oyster City Brewing Company wanted to give a glimpse of the life, people, and culture of Apalachicola to anyone who drank their beer. The did this by incorporating several local elements into their beer names, can designs, and branding.


The wall of buoys in Apalachicola has provided Oyster City Brewing with colors for its beer cans.
The wall of buoys in Apalachicola has provided Oyster City Brewing with colors for its beer cans.

“Made By The Water”

 On every package of Oyster City Brewing Company’s beer are the words “Made By The Water.”

The brewery’s website describes the unique slice of life that happens in where the Apalachicola River meets the Gulf of Mexico and forms Apalachicola Bay. “The salt and the fresh meet and the water teems with life,” the website reads. “Our life. Our body. Our Language. We are made by this particular piece of water.” Clayton says that it is a point of pride that the brewery keeps with that theme of showcasing the city and people of Apalachicola in each beer they make.

This pride resonates in every aspect of Oyster City Brewing Company.

Each tap handle from Oyster City is actually welded in Apalachicola and is an oyster rake. “This is the same kind of tool used with oysters,” Clayton says. “They are used to cull the oyster beds and then the two parts are the legal size of an oyster.”

The colors of each Oyster City can are unique as well – they are modeled after buoys in a two-story mural of buoys on the waterway of Apalachicola. When the brewery says that their beer is “Made By the Water,” it is true in every sense of the phrase.


Challenges now and in the future

When asked about what challenges Oyster City Brewing, Clayton does not hesitate: “Our greatest challenge has been the size of the brewery.” Oyster City Brewing is an expanding brewery and they are working as hard as they can to keep beer lovers supplied with their beer. Combine the size of the brewery with its floorplan that was originally set up to house a different type of business, and then invite people to visit.  Clayton elaborates, “The brewery has an open floor plan, too. When the tasting room and patio is open, there are people walking around while the staff is making beer. We have outgrown this brewery, and that is why we chose to go with Brew Hub.” He also jests about another big challenge: not drinking all of the beer.

Why not simply expand their existing brewery then? Clayton explains, “There is always a thought of expansion,” Clayton admits. “We would love to build a big brewery, but the cost would be a couple million dollars. We always want to make sure we have the demand for the beer and don’t want to put ourselves in the position of trying to expand too quickly and then lose momentum.” Ultimately, Oyster City’s expansion will depend on how much the brewery can grow and stay true to its local roots and mission statement. “We love our beer, we love Apalachicola, and we want to do everything we can to protect the brand. That means strategically finding the right time to build that brewery.”


Oyster City Brewing brewer Clayton Mathis
Oyster City Director of Operations Clayton Mathis dumps spent grain in a trailer.

The pearl-bright future of Oyster City Brewing

The future is bright for Oyster City Brewing Company. “The next big achievement is to get our beer in more people’s hands,” Clayton says. “That is what we’re trying to do with Team Cone.” Expanding distribution and moving their beer outward is one step toward their greater goal.  “We believe in our product, we believe that we have a superior product in our great beer, and I want as many people to drink our beer as possible. That is the next move for the brand as expand and we start to talk about possibly building a bigger facility and what our future is.”

No matter how much beer the brewery makes, one thing is for certain, Clayton says. The brewery’s great beer is a product of the team that powers the brewery.

“I believe in the product we have and have a great team,” Clayton emphasizes. “We have a great staff of bartenders, we have a great sales director, we have great ownership, and great brewers.” Making beer is truly a team effort from grain to glass. “These guys keep me coming to work, and it makes it easy to come to work. But I believe in the product, and I believe in the brand.”

Even though the brewery is building momentum, Clayton says he still has one big worry. “At night, from March to October, I worry about how we’re going to get enough beer to the people who want to drink it.” It’s a good problem, but a problem, nonetheless. “Being on the coast, from springtime, summertime until Labor Day, it keeps us up wondering how we’re going to get as much beer as the people want.”

“We’re constantly trying to improve every day.” 


 Want to see more? Click over to our Beer Finder to search for Oyster City Brewing Company’s beer near you or speak to your Team Cone representative.
(Please read our Oyster City Brewing announcement to learn which counties we distribute Oyster City Brewing Company in.)

Boats at rest in Mill Pond in Apalachicola
Boats at rest in Mill Pond in Apalachicola

Which lemonade is your favorite on National Lemonade Day?

As the sun rises on National Lemonade Day, there have never been more choices and varieties of lemonade than right now. Lemonade has grown up, and its grown-up self can be either a malt-based hard lemonade or a lemonade-themed beer, or even a shandy (beer/ lemonade mix).  Many of the best brewers and drink-makers are pulling out the stops to create unique spins on this classic drink.  In a year where life has given its share of lemons, here are a few unique options to enjoy with National Lemonade Day.

Swamp Head Brewery Lemon Days Berliner Weisse




Swamp Head Brewery Lemon Days (5.0% ABV) Gainesville’s first craft brewery has come up with another great beer to help with the summer heat. Swamp Head Brewery’s Lemon Days Berliner Weisse is technically a beer and not lemonade, but after a can of this light-bodied, somewhat tart treat, what makes a bigger impact is its thirst-quenching and refreshing nature. Call it whatever you’d like, it’s possible you’ll like another can. Whether it’s the pool, the campsite, or the backyard, any day can be a Lemon Day, and that’s something to look forward to.



Truly Mango Lemonade Hard Seltzer



Truly Mango Lemonade (5.0% ABV) When the beverage masters at Truly came out with a lemonade twist on their classic seltzer, they created a unique taste and made seltzer more approachable for everyone. The folks at Truly did not rest on their laurels for too long. They instead found fruit flavors to make Truly Lemonade even better. And rather than making people choose between flavors, Truly put all of these tropical and fruity lemonades together in a variety pack. For Lemonade Day, we would recommend the tropical twist of ripe mango, but don’t take our word for it. Dive into a Truly Lemonade Variety pack and discover your new favorite.


Mike's Hard Watermelon Lemonade




Mike’s Hard Watermelon Lemonade (5.0% ABV) A summer treat of hard lemonade from a company who has learned the secrets of lemonade flavors: Mike’s. The sweetness of watermelon blended with some of the tartness of classic lemonade yields this pink drink. Only available for a limited time – enjoy one with the summer since neither will last.

Leinenkugel Summer Shandy





Leinenkugel Summer Shandy (4.2% ABV) Originating with the European tradition of a shandy – half-lemonade and half-beer that would be the perfect end to a long hike or bike ride – Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy can make short work of Florida’s summer heat. Originating with a light-bodied wheat beer and then an additional helping of lemonade, after one or two of these treats, they will become a summer favorite.



Crook and Marker Blueberry Lemonade



Crook & Marker Blueberry Hard Lemonade (4.0%ABV) A summer sipper from the folks who boast zero sugar and 80 calories in each can of lemonade. Tart, tangy, and tasty with the addition of even more tart berry flavor – Blueberry Lemonade is a treasure to be found in Crook & Marker’s Lemonade Variety Pack.


National Lemonade Day illustrates perfectly just how much lemonade has evolved from a summer drink enjoyed as kids to a more grown-up version suitable for any occasion imaginable. Whichever lemonade you prefer or want to try, click over to our Beer Finder to find your next favorite lemonade today!

Team Cone signs deal to distribute Oyster City Brewing Company in nine counties

Oyster City Brewing Company of Apalachicola adds nine counties to their distribution footprint in a distribution agreement with Cone Distributing (Team Cone).

Apalachicola’s craft brewery will now be distributed in (alphabetically) Alachua, Bradford, Citrus, Columbia, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Suwannee, and Union counties with Team Cone.

Oyster City Brewing Company image

“Oyster City already has some great distribution partners, and we are extremely excited to add Team Cone to that list,” says Clayton Mathis, Oyster City Brewing Company’s Director of Operations. “Team Cone approached us with a clearly defined plan of brand enhancement with the goal of making sure our beer gets into the hands of as many people as possible. We believe strongly in our product, and it was easy to see Team Cone reflects that same belief.”

“I recognized that the outstanding beer I tried from Oyster City Brewing Company would be loved by drinkers throughout our distribution footprint,” says Team Cone president Doug Cone. “All of us at Team Cone can’t wait to bring the beers and the story of Apalachicola’s craft brewery to the people of these nine counties.”

Team Cone will be distributing Oyster City Brewing Company’s award-winning Hooter Brown Ale in addition to core beers Apalach IPA, Mangrove Mango Pale Ale, Tates Helles Lager, and Mill Pond Dirty Blonde beginning on Monday, August 17th.


Oyster City Brewing Company logo small


About Oyster City Brewing Company
Oyster City Brewery opened in 2014 in the historic town of Apalachicola, Florida.
Where the river winds south and the gulf creeps toward it, here, where they touch, something happens. The salt and the fresh meet and the water teems with life. Where pieces of the river and the gulf migrate into each other, life is formed. Not simply two parts anymore, but a new body, a new language. Our life. Our body. Our language. We are made by this particular piece of water.

IPA Day has returned – which type of IPA drinker are you?

A Happy Hoppyday – National IPA Day

National IPA Day has returned! While American IPAs are an undoubtedly classic style, the drinking public’s tastes have changed, so the style continues to evolve. Whether its hazy and juicy IPAS, new and experimental hop styles and formats or simply a new adjunct added to these hoppy beers, remember that this day is all about the exploration of the style that keeps moving craft beer forward.

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA



For the person who has tried everything: IPA Day is a great day to remember the classic beers that turned heads in the first place. Remember that Dogfish Head’s 90 Minute IPA (9.0% ABV – technically an Imperial IPA) and 60 Minute IPA (6.0% ABV were innovations that made the bitterness of IPAs palatable to those casual drinkers who had not yet experienced craft beer. Owner Sam Calagione’s experimentation with continually hopping a beer (hence the numbers) led him to these IPAs that express the citrusy and pungent aromas without the bitter bite that many other IPAs had at the time.

Coppertail Free Dive Can





For the person who doesn’t like IPAs: While not everyone loves IPAs, but hopefully the spirit of experimentation is strong on this hoppy holiday. In that case, the use of lighter malts, its grapefruit character, and subtle dryness of Coppertail Brewing’s Free Dive IPA (5.9% ABV) can appeal to even the most ardent anti-IPA drinker. If more convincing is needed, try Free Dive with spicy shrimp, Indian curry, or ceviche.

Swamp Head Big Nose Can




For the die-hard IPA fan: For the drinker that’s had them all, and has a locked-in favorite, it’s rewarding to remember that even the “hops in my veins” drinker started somewhere. In this case, enjoying the strong caramel malt presences and hop-forward pine and citrus of Swamp Head Brewery’s Big Nose IPA (7.3% ABV) can bring back memories of a time when a favorite local IPA just hit the spot. Gainesville’s first craft brewery’s Big Nose IPA still holds up – strong hoppy aroma that follows through into the finish along with plenty of malty sweetness to balance the bitterness.

Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin




For the person who is new to craft beer: For those who are dabbling in craft beer and not sure what to commit to, a beer like Ballast Point’s Grapefruit Sculpin IPA (7.0% ABV) illustrates the great taste of a classic IPA with the addition of grapefruit flavor to compliment the citrusy character of the hops. While the beer has 7% alcohol by volume and much of the character that defines an IPA, the additional grapefruit just adds a little bit more.


Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing IPA



For the person wondering about hazy IPAs: Some beer fans don’t like the bitterness present in traditional IPAs and pass up the entire category. That can be a mistake as hazy IPAs are here to offer something different. While many of these beers are unfiltered, hence the “hazy” moniker, they are also made differently than traditional IPAs and tend to express the fruity character of hoppy beer without all of the customary bitterness. Sierra Nevada Brewing’s Hazy Little Thing IPA (6.7% ABV) is just such a beer – the brewery brags that they “package Hazy Little Thing in all its raw glory: unfiltered, unprocessed, straight from the tanks and into the can.”


Whatever your hoppy persuasion or whichever category you fall into on IPA Day, it’s a great day to try something new and discover your next favorite beer. Click over to our Beer Finder page and discover where these beers are available near you.

The Brewer’s Story: Special Operations Forces (SOF) Brewing

Born from an idea at SOF Command

Tallahassee’s newest brewery, Special Operations Forces (SOF) Brewing, can trace its origins back to a snowy day in the nation’s capital. Future brewery president Kris Hasenauer got a call from his brother David. “January 2018, I was working for Special Operations Command in Washington, DC, and my brother called me,” remembers Kris. “It was a snow day and I was enjoying a few beers at home.” Like so many beer enthusiasts before them, Kris and his brother made a declaration that they enjoyed beer so much that “We should start a brewery.” Since that day in 2018, the brothers set out on a mission to build a team and get Special Operations Forces Brewing Company off the ground.

As they started SOF Brewing Company with only an idea, the brothers agreed that the brewery should be one with a mission: to be a force for good. The brothers wanted to make a brewery where they could gather with the local and military communities at the same time to enjoy great beer, but as important as great beer was the second part of the mission: to give back to the community that had supported them.

SOF Brewing founders
SOF Brewing Founders Kris Hasenauer, Brian McDowell, and Kyle Harth.


 Build the brewery and they will come. Start with beer.

The brothers had accepted their mission to build SOF Brewing Company, and they flew down to Florida to meet with investors. While the meeting with investors fell through, the brothers picked up Kyle Harth as the brewery’s Chief Marketing Officer and got a meeting with local brewery 26 Degrees Brewing to talk about beer. “They asked us ‘what do we want out of a beer?’” remembers Kris. “We were military guys, so we said we wanted something that tasted good and we wanted to drink several at a time. So, we didn’t want fruit in the beer and we just wanted to enjoy beer-flavored beer.”

SOF Brewing’s first beer was born from this meeting and collaboration with 26 Degrees Brewing. “We told 26 Degrees that we’re not beer business guys, we’re beer-drinkers. We know that military guys like to drink beer and we had some ideas about where we wanted to go with the beer.” The SOF Brewing Team wanted to make beer but wanted to test the market to see how other people liked their beer first. “That’s why we decided to make this first run and give all of our proceeds to charity. For us, this is a business and while we want to make money, there’s a lot of camaraderie and different things that you can bring into this,” Kris says. “That’s where it went.”

More than beer

For the SOF Brewing Team, the beer is only part of the mission. Kris admits that the team “wants to be a successful business, but there’s more to it than that for us. There’s a philanthropy aspect that is inspiring to all of us.” The team is choosing to use the beer to benefit a charity whose impact they have seen firsthand. “We had started a partnership with a few different charities and one of those is dear to us – The Danny Ray Sanchez Foundation,” Kris says. “Danny was on our Special Forces Team – he was an Air Force Combat Controller and he was killed on our deployment. Danny’s mom then started a foundation for him.” The team decided to help this foundation because they had seen the foundation’s direct impact on the community. “We are going to help Danny’s mom develop her scholarship program and we’re going to buy service dogs through her foundation and part of our profits are going to go back to her and help her support that mission,” reiterates Kris. That’s huge for us. That’s where the proceeds from this first run of For Patriots Lager is going.”

SOF Brewing For Patriots American Lager
SOF Brewing’s first beer is For Patriots Lager

Finding a home for the brewery

The SOF Brewing Team did not start in Tallahassee, but they knew when they looked at the building that the brewery had found its home. “We started a deal in Ocala,” remembers Kyle.  We were trying to get the old Fire Station One at Tuscawilla Park. Kris and I were in the Special Forces unit that was in Ocala. We were excited to go back to Ocala. But business being business it just fell through.” When brewery space in Tallahassee came open, the team knew that would be the home base of SOF Brewing. “My brother and I both went to Florida State,” says Kris.  “We had pretty solid Tallahassee roots. We would come up here for gamedays and business, and we love this city. That’s how the brewery ended up here.”

Finding the right brewer for SOF Brewing

Once the team had found their home and their first beer, the next step was finding the right brewer to make the kind of beers that would move SOF Brewing forward. The Team found Larry Agee, the veteran Tallahassee brewer who wrote recipes for some of the beers that the people of Florida’s Capital City have come to love.

Larry has experience brewing as a homebrewer and commercial brewer and was happy to join the SOF Team. “I was looking for a new opportunity and am excited to build a new beer portfolio with this team,” says Larry. “I am excited to be brewing again and to start working with this new team.”

SOF Brewing head brewer Larry Agee
SOF Brewing head brewer Larry Agee

Creating a brewery for everyone

While they are enthusiastic about building a brewery where veterans and active-duty military can come and enjoy a beer or two, Kris, Kyle, and the SOF Team want to be known as a brewery where everyone feels welcome and will come to try some of Larry’s latest beers.

“Every service has a bond: military people, especially Special Forces, law enforcement, first responders, all of us,” says Kyle. “When you look at that, that’s really what drew me to doing this type of work.” Kyle explains that the best part of his job is “I get to jump out of planes and go diving and blow stuff up. That’s great. But I get to do it with this amazingly interesting and diverse group of men and women who I feel like are my brothers and sisters.” Kyle explains that the brewery is a way to build on experiences and create a welcoming place and a brand of beer everyone can enjoy. “Being able to take guys that we’ve worked with and form that into a business and share that psyche or general friendship. We looked at it and saw that the common bonding element was beer. We all love beer. We’ve been drinking beer with almost everything we’ve done in the military with all of our friends. Why not center a business around something that we can continue to do that with? And something that we can share our story and our passion for our work in a new medium.”

What’s in the hopper for SOF?

While the SOF Team is working to get the Tallahassee brewery operational, they decided to launch distribution with the second batch of For Patriots Lager. While the brewery will open its tasting room in time, they wanted to launch their first beer so they could begin to hear from the community and give back to the community.

Kyle says that he is excited about the good that the Team can do with the brewery. “Not only would I like to see the proliferation of product, but I think from a philanthropic side, I am excited about the ability to give back.” There is more to SOF Brewing than just the beer and the business. “Our success is always going to be measured not against what we make, but what we give back. If five years from now, we’ve achieved a broader and greater success, that only gives us the ability to give back to foundations like the Danny Sanchez Foundation.” Charities like this are at the heart of the brewery’s mission and purpose. “That’s our whole gig. We’ll retire from the military and being able to produce something that’s fun that bonds people together that also amplifies our ability to give back. The more success we achieve, the more we can do of that work.”

The beer, the cause, and the mission for SOF Brewing

SOF Brewing Company exterior

Kris likens the SOF Brewing Team to the cohesive unit the group worked within the military. “The thing we’ve figured out in all that we’ve done, a Special Forces Team is made up of twelve people that are the best at what they do,” Kris says.  “What you find out working with the team is that you have an expert. If something comes up, you find the expert. Hence, Larry. We’re not the experts, so we hired Larry. He is. I know that if I find the right guys and I surround myself with the right people, with talented people, then we can do anything. You don’t need a lot of people; you need the right people. That’s all it is. You can make huge strides by moving small, talented groups of people to do something.”

Kris knows that SOF Brewing’s path to opening was a bit unusual. “We did it backwards – usually when you go in and tell people you want to start a brewery, you’re a brewer who already knows how to make beer.” That was not the case with the crew behind SOF Brewing, yet their motivation drove them forward. “We knew nothing about making beer, we just knew we liked beer. We made it and gave it away and asked everyone else if they liked the beer. When everyone else was saying that they liked the beer, we thought, ‘we should do something with this.’ We’re more educated about beer now than when we started, it’s craft beer for us, and we love the art of it, but for us, we also love the people we get to hang out with while we’re drinking beer. It’s that for us.”

 Click over to our Beer Finder to see where SOF Brewing’s beer is available near you.

SOF Brewing Company signs distribution agreement with Cone Distributing

Cone Distributing (Team Cone) is proud to announce that Special Operations Forces (SOF) Brewing of Tallahassee has signed an agreement for distribution throughout Team Cone’s 22-county footprint.

“We’re excited to partner with a brewery like SOF Brewing who is focused on delivering quality beer and giving back to the military and local communities,” said Douglas Cone, President and CEO of Team Cone. “SOF Brewing’s For Patriots Lager has a great story and salutes the men and women of the armed forces and the everyday heroes in our communities.”

“We at SOF Brewing Company chose Team Cone as our distribution partner because of their close-knit team and family corporate culture,” says SOF Brewing CEO Kris Hasenauer. “Coming from the military and specifically special operations, we value their work ethic and ‘take care of each other’ mentality. We are excited to move SOF Brewing Company forward with their guidance and support.”

SOF Brewing’s first beer in distribution will be For Patriots Lager, a 4.6% ABV American Lager that echoes the brewery’s motto: “Freedom Doesn’t Brew Itself!” For Patriots will be available for customers to order from Team Cone on Monday, July 20th.

Look for SOF Brewing’s beers where your favorite beers are sold. For more information, follow SOF Brewing and Team Cone on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

SOF Brewing logo



About SOF Brewing
Our mission is to brew awesome beer for awesome people and celebrate the men and women of Special Operations Forces. At SOF Brewing Company we want to give our patrons a glimpse of the camaraderie of Special Operations Forces and allow our brothers and sisters in arms a place to drop their ruck and relax. Remember freedom doesn’t brew itself!




Team Cone logo for site logo


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 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.