MEET THE NEIGHBORS ~ SHOP LOCAL
3 DAUGHTERS BREWING
Owners: Leigh and Mike Harting
Business Neighbor Since: 2013
Meet 3 Daughters Brewing, St. Pete based maker of craft beers, hard ciders and hard seltzers. The brewery, owned by Mike and Leigh Harting, offers as many as 150 different rotating recipes through its tasting rooms. When it opened 6 years ago, the brewery set out with one core mission: to make great craft beer. By year two, the brewery broadened its mission by getting a license to add hard cider to their portfolio and now their Key Lime Cider is one of their most popular items, second only to their Beach Blonde Ale.
Co-owner Leigh Harting says the decision to expand has been a win-win for everybody. “We have something for everyone,” she says. “This past year, we branched out a little further to hard seltzers, a carbonated and flavored water with alcohol. They’ve become popular for people to take to the beach, the pool or on a boat. One carb, no sugar, low in calories. Something you can sip on all day.”
You can find 3 Daughters Brewing products in retailers and restaurants in both Florida and Georgia, as well as the Bahamas. Click here to read more about their craft beers, hard ciders and hard seltzers. The brewery also has a restaurant, 3DBites, which is frequently host to various tasting events. Those interested in stopping by for a sip and/or a nibble should check the 3DB calendar on the brewery’s Facebook page for their latest scheduled events.
Two talented food-focused creatives were determined to dream up just the right craft beer for the tastiest beer-battered fish at their Beach Drive restaurant. Head chef Ty Weaver was a home brewer in his spare time, and soon, he and restaurateur Mike Harting realized that the core of that shared passion lay in creating the craft beer most of all. So together they hatched a plan. As co-owner (and Mike’s wife) Leigh Harting tells it, “Mike and Ty went out to California to look for a 3-barrel beer system. They came back with a 30-barrel system, sold their interest in the restaurant and went full speed into beer-making,” she says. “I never realized the chemistry behind the process of making beer. It introduced me to a whole new world. We’ve ended up having a lot of fun doing it.” They purchased a space in the warehouse district, a concentration of manufacturers in St. Pete, because they knew they had big plans for big volume, and 222 22nd St. S. has been the brewery’s home ever since.
And the name? Well, that came from a serious question posed during the early stages of building the business: how many beers do we need to sell to put three daughters through college? They haven’t arrived at an exact number yet, but there you go: 3 Daughters Brewing was born. (Oh, and Leigh notes that those three awesome daughters happen to be 16, 14 and 10 now and enjoying summer camp at the time of this writing.)
Giving Back to the Community:
Though the company has been evolving in its six years, one thing has remained consistent: 3 Daughters Brewing has always been an active business partner in the St. Pete and neighboring Pinellas communities. In 2017, the brewery committed to donating $100,000 to over charities. In 2018, the figure was closer to $150,000 to 200 charities. And this year, 3 Daughters Brewing is on track to exceed that again!
“We all have certain causes we’re passionate about. If it’s a charity and we can help, we might donate product or give to auctions and even created a 100% charity beer to give all of the proceeds to the Navy Seals Foundation in conjunction with the Frogman Swim,” Leigh says. “Veterans and military are close to our hearts, and we’ve done team house builds with Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County, and a lot for the St. Petersburg Free Clinic.”
Leigh shared one especially creative way the brewery was able to help multi-fold simply doing what they do best: making beer. The University of Florida had a program which welcomed leftover grain from breweries like 3 Daughters Brewing because it turned out that for most brewers, there was enough protein left in the brewing grains to be useful for cattle feed. The university would sell the grain to farmers and the proceeds would then be used by the St. Pete Free Clinic to buy food at cost.
Another way the brewery discovered they could give back to the community originated when local breweries were given an excise tax break. Instead of retaining those funds that had been paid out year after year, 3 Daughters Brewing decided to take that excise tax break and re-invest in the children of Pinellas, donating to the Step Up program which provides scholarships to local kids in the community.
“We try to find causes that are going to better the community, because it’s the right thing to do,” Leigh says.
Living and Working in St. Pete:
Mike and Leigh not only work in the St. Pete community — they live here, too, only 10 minutes away from the brewery. Leigh says the family loves the area and they’re proud to raise their kids here. She especially loves that delicate balance of community closeness with metropolitan amenities that St. Petersburg offers its residents. “I love how close-knit everybody is, but the area’s growth is exploding,” she says. “It doesn’t feel small town. It has just the right balance of great new attractions, hotels, beaches and theater events yet still holds that feeling of a close-knit community.”
She says people might be surprised to learn that the business community operates that way, too, especially in the local craft beer industry. Don’t be fooled into thinking there’s a cut-throat competition under way. According to this brewery co-owner, a team effort is underway. “I think most craft breweries think like we do. The rising tide is going to float all of our boats,” she says. “We’re not competing with craft breweries our size. We are all trying to earn market share from the big domestic beer, wine and spirit brands. We’re all working together to take this to the next level.”
The Shop Local movement is important to 3 Daughters Brewing because they’ve learned firsthand the power of supporting one another — as businesses and as neighbors. Leigh notes that when the brewery first opened, it was another, already established brewery Cigar City that stepped in to offer help, and they have tried to do the same to pay it forward, making their beer lab (one of the largest in the state) available to smaller brewers to test their beers and working with local political leadership and other organizations and nonprofits to find ways to work together and launch new programs in the community.
“The core tenet of our business has always been to give back and help raise others,” Leigh says. “When you’re supporting local business owners, local businesses can give back to the community and grow an industry that might not have been able to grow previously. It’s vital.”
Coming Soon from 3 Daughters Brewing:
Later this year, 3 Daughters Brewing will join another St. Pete favorite Mazzaro’s Italian Market to become part of a 5 million dollar renovation of the food, beverage and retail sectors of the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport. The brewery will offer its locally brewed craft beer at gates 2 through 6 while Mazzaro’s will settle in near gates 7 through 11.
The brewery will be kicking off summer with a bang on Friday, June 21 and its Beach Blonde Block Party at the brewery 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. The event celebrates their most popular beverage, and the night will include live music, fun beach vendors and plenty of Beach Blonde Ale.
Joining forces with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, 3 Daughters Brewing hosts a fun, new event, the Florida Hard Seltzer Fest on Saturday, July 20 onsite at the St. Pete brewery. Come celebrate the fastest growing segment of flavored malt beverages and the 3 Daughters Brewing line of hard seltzers and hard sodas launched last year, including such flavors as cranberry, orange, ginger, raspberry, cucumber mint and more! Look for details soon here on Destination Tampa Bay and in a future edition of the weekly e-newsletter Countdown to the Weekend. Proceeds from the new festival will go to the St. Pete Free Clinic. Admission is free!