Chris Connor, a local IT consultant, and his father Richard Connor II, a retired IT exec, are teaming up to bring a new brewery concept to Seminole County’s Wekiwa Springs neighborhood.
After nearly ten years of producing beer as a hobby in their house, the Connors are working toward a new goal to distribute their fizzy drinks in a new establishment within the roughly 65,000-square-foot Springs Plaza shopping center at 125-165 Wekiva Springs Rd. and 2401-2491 West S.R. 434, west of I-4.
“We’re not part of any big chain, we’re a small local business concept,” Chris Connor told GrowthSpotter. According to him, the concept “Little Wekiva Brewery” has a back-to-basics approach when drinking beer. Their mission is to deliver the simple pleasures found in going outside and enjoying a cold one.
Patron beer drinkers, as well as non-craft beer consumers, will feel welcomed into the fold, Connor said.
“Not to throw flame on other breweries, but we’re not trying to be pretentious and provide all these different flavors of beer,” he said. “If you don’t know what you like, but maybe have an idea, or know what you like, whether that’s a brown ale, lager, IPA, we’ll have something for you.”
Little Wekiva Brewery will be a two-barrel brewery, meaning production will reach about four to eight barrels of beer per week for onsite consumption, “so the beer will stay fresh,” Chris Connor said.
Initial plans are to open in a 1,200-square-retail space with outdoor seating. Chris Connor said he hopes to open by the first quarter of next year.
Foundry Commercial is handling leasing efforts at the plaza.
The brewery will pay homage to Little Wekiva Springs by featuring murals of wildlife found on the nearby Wekiwa Springs river in the state park. The craft beer selection will be named after landmarks, foliage and animals found in the preserve.
According to Chris Connor, the “vibe of the brewery” will be laid-back and have a neighborhood hangout feel to it. The owners state they’d like to add a live music/entertainment component and partner with other restaurants in the plaza, like Mykonos Authentic Greek Cuisine, Hurricane Grill & Wings and Tijuana Flats.
“During the pandemic, Hurricane Grill really activated [a courtyard space in the plaza]. They made it apparent something could survive out there,” Chris Connor said.
The partners said they identified Springs Plaza as “a booming consumer area” ideal for a neighborhood brewery. Currently, there is not another brewery within five miles of the location.
In their application to Seminole County’s Development Review Committee, the father and son state they “have a built-in clientele of people who love our beer and are anxious for a brick-and mortar location to enjoy it.”