A kombucha brewery and taproom has taken over Foundation Coffee Co.’s former location in Tampa Heights.
Three business partners opened Flower Crown Kombucha in early January with a vision of tapping into a burgeoning beverage scene in Tampa Heights and rising consumer interest in health-focused goods. Flower Crown counts Garagiste Meadery, Hidden Springs Ale Works and Magnanimous Brewing among its neighbors.
On weekends, co-owner Phil Smith said, it’s becoming increasingly common to see customers who are hitting up all of the beverage spots along Florida Avenue and Franklin Street between East Kay Street and East Henderson Avenue.
“I think the pandemic kept a lot of people indoors and from having new experiences,” said Bryan Griffin, Flower Crown co-owner. “And as we start to get out of it, it was important as we were starting a business to find a space where people can safely try something new and also be a part of the health food community.”
Smith, who’s been brewing kombucha since he first tried it in 2011, met Griffin and their other business partner, Daniel Andresen, at Radiant Church in Tampa. The three funded the business themselves; startup costs totaled $100,000.
While Tampa has a plethora of craft breweries and coffee roasteries, craft kombucha remains an “underdeveloped market,” Griffin said. Most people, he says, have either never tried kombucha or have purchased mass-manufactured kombucha at a grocery store.
With six large fermenters and two 200-gallon storage tanks, Flower Crown has production capacity of up to 8,000 gallons per year. Flower Crown’s kombucha is brewed to be non-alcoholic to avoid the three-tier distribution system that craft breweries and other alcohol manufacturers must use in Florida.
“With the taproom and brewery, we wanted to start small and build a brand Tampa knows and loves,” Smith said, “and then slowly expand.”