Shawn Goeckner of Bootleggers Brewworx.

By Brian Bokor

All Bootleggers Brewworx Owner Shaun Goeckner wanted to do was expand his business and upgrade his operation to allow for distribution of his craft beer. His three-year-old brewpub/home brewing supply shop, Bootleggers Brewworx and Bootleggers Brewing Company, had outgrown its current location at 652 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon and it was the right time to expand.

He found the perfect location for the new storefront at 10256 Causeway Blvd. in the Shoppes of Causeway (NW. corner of Causeway Blvd. and Falkenburg Rd.). It was a new building with a centralized location near Strandhill Public, Canopy Road Cafe and Kiwami Sushi. Goeckner expected it to be open in 2018.

However, due to county zoning complications and licensing challenges, it took two additional years and an effort that likely has saved the craft brewing industry in Hillsborough county.

According to the State, the location had to be in a zone designated ‘Manufacturing’ in order to manufacture beer for distribution. To Goeckner’s amazement, county planners agreed with the state representative and informed him that his intended use of a craft brewery would no longer be allowed at that location.

Goeckner allied with other small operators, like Matt and Debbie McDonough of Pye Road Meadery, who were also affected by the changes by the county administrators and worked together to rally for change at the county and state levels.

This monumental task was accomplished in December, and now, Hillsborough County’s Land Development Code has definitions, standards and limitations of malt beverages for both brewpubs and microbreweries thanks to Goeckner as well as Israel Monsanto (county planner), Joe Moreda and several County planners and administrators.

Bootleggers Brewing has gold medal-winning craft beers and mead, ciders, wines and the self-styled best homemade root beer in five counties. Bootleggers will also continue to supply a full line of ingredients and supplies for anyone interested in making their own beer, wine, cider or mead.

Current weekly events include: live local bands, bring-your-own vinyl night, trivia night, open mic night, paints and pours and BuzzTime interactive entertainment, along with a new, large, outdoor patio area that is twice the size, incorporating the same cozy, friendly, hangout vibe as before.

Goeckner is ready to open and grand opening details will be available by contacting Bootleggers Brewing Company at 643-9463 or following the company on Facebook at BootleggersBrewingCo.