Those that know us, know that we love beer. We have regular Big Sea happy hours, Friday afternoons we usually crack open a brewski, and I brew my own beers that I regularly bring by the office for tasting.

Yes, we love beer.

So it comes as no surprise that we are proud of our local beer scene and knew we had something we could bring to this community as web developers. We realized that there was no consolidated, easily filterable list of all the breweries in the area. People visiting the Tampa Bay area have no clear way of determining what brewery to visit – and we know there are a lot of craft beer fans visiting with places like Cigar City Brewery knocking out high quality beers like Hunahpu and Jai Alai. Even locals have a tough time keeping up with all the new breweries opening on what feels like a monthly basis.

Why we did it

Making a list is one thing – but just like in the brewing process, filters are where the magic happens. Why would you want to filter a list of local breweries? Well, let’s have a look:

  • Heading out with your family? Wouldn’t it be great to have a list of the breweries that are kid friendly – with games, outdoor spaces and other amenities for the little ones?
  • Love going places with your dog? Sure would be nice to see all the breweries that are happy to welcome Fido up to the bar.
  • Hungry? Want some live music? Interested in a brewery tour? You love beer, but you’ve got other needs, wouldn’t it be swell to know where to go?

What started as a side project between two of us grew into a project with the entire team contributing … and The Brewery Bay was born.

The Brewery Bay

How We Did It

We knew what we wanted the site to accomplish when we started building it, but the end result was an evolution of ideas. Here’s how we did it.

We chose ExpressionEngine core as the content management system, as we’ve been building a lot of projects with it and it’s a preference of mine. EE allows us the flexibility of adding new functionality and building out additional features in the future – no matter the complexity.

We chose Mapbox for the map showing the locations. Mapbox is easy to work with and the designers love it, too. We knew the true usefulness of this little directory would lie in making it mobile-friendly, so our awesome design team made it gorgeously responsive. The rest of our standards followed: jQuery, SASS, and Grunt.

I definitely refactored code quite a few times to account for additional approaches, features and functionality. With the whole team involved, new filters were added as everyone had a different way they’d personally want to be able to sort the breweries.

Once the framework was in place, it was just a matter of adding geolocation data, descriptive information, RateBeer and BeerAdvocate links, and then categorizing each of the 30+ breweries – a much more daunting process than we’d probably envisioned.

The end result is the most comprehensive and useful list of all of our many breweries here in the Tampa Bay area.  Save it to your home screen – it’s mobile-friendly too!

Guide to Tampa's Breweries

In order to remain useful, we’ve committed ourselves to the tireless task of “research” as we continue to scour the area in search of the next brew.

Be sure to check out The Brewery Bay and follow the Brewery Bay on Facebook for the latest news and updates.