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Fed Up Florida Fire Fighters Turn Anger Into Beer

March 5, 2013 – Three Hollywood, FL Local 1375 fire fighters upset about the way their city has treated them have decided to start a brewery – Angry Union Brewing.

In 2011, citing financial despair, City leaders in Hollywood forced police and fire fighters to take a 12.5 percent pay cut and put a freeze on merit raises. Hollywood residents also voted to cut police and fire fighter pensions.

That same year, Hollywood Local 1375 fire fighters Eric Guerrero, Mark Fee and Jeff Evans decided to turn their passion for making craft beer into a business.

“We were brewing a batch of beer one day and venting our frustration at the City and wondering what to do about,” says Guerrero. “One of us said, ‘we’re like angry brewers!’ The name stuck and we decided to take our hobby to another level.”

While Angry Union Brewing is more of a goal than a business at this point, the craft beer is real and so is the anger. They also have a Facebook page to sell T-shirts and, if you’re in the right place at the right time, you might get to drink their beer.

The leap from amateur brewer to professional beer maker is fraught with challenges. Guerrero likens the process to looking through a glass of mud. There’s a ton of paperwork and the financial investment is certainly daunting, especially for the three fire fighters who had their pay cut.

Still, the trio is serious about making beer, brewing a variety of styles in 10- to 15-gallon batches. At the moment they are focused on perfecting the craft, competing for awards and building a name for themselves. In addition, they are starting to price out bigger brewing systems and exploring various business models.

Not surprisingly, the men take inspiration from Sam Calagione, founder and owner of Dogfish Head Brewery, who got his start brewing similar amounts for his restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
“Our dream is to have at least one of our beers on the menu at a restaurant. Our goal is to one day have a brewpub,” says Guerrero.

 


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