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Tampa Beer On Tap At History Center

A new exhibit opening this weekend highlights the colorful history of beer in Tampa Bay.

Cigar maker Vicente Martinez Ybor founded Florida's first commercial beer brewery, The Florida Brewing Company, in Tampa in 1897 at the site of an ancient springs. Artifacts from that brewery will be among the items on display at the Tampa Bay History Center at an exhibition called "History By the Pint," which explores the story of beer and brewing in Tampa Bay.

The exhibit will also cover the Prohibition era -- which Tampa tried hard to ignore, according to the History Center's Rodney Kite-Powell.

"By 1918 most of the state had gone dry, but Tampa certainly had not,” Kite-Powell said. “…Because of the large immigrant community that we had, there was very little interest in going dry."

The exhibit also traces the arrival to Tampa of the large national breweries, as well as the recent craft beer boom in Tampa Bay. "History by the Pint" runs through August 11th at the Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Old Water St., Tampa.

Robin Sussingham was Senior Editor at WUSF until September 2020.