Salty bull brewing

An artist’s conception of the Salty Bull Brewing Co., once a warehouse and adjacent vacant lot at 115 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.

CLEARWATER — The Salty Bull Brewing Co. has plans for the single-story warehouse and adjacent empty lot near the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Cleveland Street.

Bryan Borosky, owner of Beacon National Supply in Clearwater, told the City Council at its July 15 work session that he’s been thinking about it for a long time.

“I have a passion for beer; I’ve been a home brewer for more than 25 years,” Borosky told the council. “I have looked at opening a brewery now for more than a decade.”

According to the plan he and his partner, Jeff Moran, described for the council, the two will create a friendly, relaxed environment with plenty of outside seating.

Using “industrial craftsmanship fused with natural elements,” the plans call for them to create multiple micro-environments, multi-faceted indoor and outdoor experiences, and provide community bench seating, café tables, Adirondack chairs around a fire pit, and other configurations.

What is now an abandoned empty lot next to the building will become a tranquil, park-like beer garden under shade trees. It will include lush greenery, stone, wood, brick, and metal to “create a charming environment where Earth meets industry,” Borosky and Moran wrote in their description.

The two plan a 5,000-square-foot brewery to manufacture a wide range of beer from basic ales to complex IPAs and barrel-aged beer in their 15-barrel brew house.

Clearwater Community Redevelopment Agency Director Amanda Thompson introduced Borosky and his craft brewery plan to the City Council at its July 15 workshop.

“The drivers for growth are new breweries that have found underdeveloped markets like Clearwater,” Borosky said. “Clearwater has not really established an anchor business that’s going to draw people to downtown Clearwater. We think our brewery will accomplish that task.”

Sitting as the CRA, the City Council voted to direct Thompson to finalize a contract for Borosky’s craft beer operation.

The agreement will be signed once the city and Borosky work out details.

To spur downtown business, the CRA has signed similar arrangements under its Food and Drink Business Tenant Program, which provides seed money for eating and drinking establishments.

The preliminary agreement says the CRA will loan Borosky and his partners $600,000 to buy the warehouse and property, to be repaid in 10 installments of $60,000 a year. CRA will own the mortgage on the 1.1-acre property until the payments are complete.

The CRA will provide incentives in the form of $250,000 toward development of the building and lot and $250,000 toward façade improvements, to be paid to the craft brewery once the work is completed, the contract states.

Mayor George N. Cretekos asked Thompson what happens to the property if the company doesn’t succeed.

“If they are not open in 18 months, the property reverts to the CRA,” Thompson told Cretekos. “The CRA is the lender and we keep the mortgage for 10 years.”

The proposed timeline for construction Borosky provided the CRA has the installation of the large brewing tanks and other equipment in April 2020, with a proposed opening date of June-July 2020.

Salty Bull also agrees to secure all the financing, especially for the expensive, stainless-steel brewing equipment, as well as state alcohol licenses and business permits.

Other beneficiaries of the program include Blackbrick Tavern, Pour Yours, Tequila’s Mexican Grill and Cantina, and Vector Amusements. The CRA also agreed to extend Blackbrick and Tequila’s agreements through Oct. 1 at the July 15 work session.

Clearwater already has a craft beer producer, Clearwater Brewing Co., at 1700 North Fort Harrison Ave.