It’s virtually impossible to be a Bay area beer lover and not be intimately familiar with Dunedin Brewery, Florida’s oldest family-owned microbrewery. It’s an institution with a welcoming vibe and friendly crew who work diligently to keep things in the (extended) family. Case in point: brewer Richard Crance (foreground at left), who got his job the old-fashioned way — by hanging out until they gave him one, working alongside longtime house brewer Trace Caley.
So you didn’t start off as a brewer here?
No, I’ve been working here for eight years and brewing full-time for three. I fell into it, really. I’ve known the family since I was very young, started off here working the door. I fell in love with craft beer, figured out I had a passion for it and that’s when they moved me into the back.
What do you like about brewing?
It’s working with your hands to create something that people enjoy on a daily basis. And it really is its own art form, it’s constant creativity. You’re half baker, half scientist, or chemist, really.
What are your hours like?
Generally it’s not a 40-hour work week, it’s more. And it all depends on what happens during the week. But I try to handle it so I’m not sleeping on a cot in the back — but it does happen.
Do you do a lot of drinking on the job?
Very small amounts. A lot of what we do is actually dangerous, dealing with chemicals and hot liquids constantly. We’ll pull off four ounces, a sample, at a time, but we rarely finish that much. And then there’s the end of the shift, where we usually have a pint or two. We’ll sit out on the front porch and just talk, you know? A lot of good ideas come out of that.
Where do you like to hang out
when you’re not here?
It’s a long list. Basically anywhere that has some really good craft taps, that’s my favorite place to be.
What do you think of local craft
beer becoming this monster trend?
I think it’s fantastic. It’s one of thse things where it’s exploding, but it’s still a close-knit community. We’re still talking to each other, helping each other out. A rising tide lifts all ships. I haven’t heard any competitiveness or bad-mouthing going on, it’s a really cool community to be a part of.
There’s definitely that thing where everybody wants to make the best product, and with craft beer there’s no one perfect beer out there. It depends on where you are, the mood you’re in, the poeple around you. There’s really a beer for every occasion, so I think there’s room for all of us, and even more still.
Favorite local beer that’s not his: “That’s tough. I just really like trying the beers from all the other local breweries, 7venth Sun, Barley Mow. I try to get down to St. Pete when I can. When you’re brewing, you’re constantly looking for new ideas, and having a pint that I didn’t brew can really spark something.”
His signature Dunedin Brewery beer: “That’s a really difficult question. Just picking one? Our standard beers are just that — they’re really good interpretations of what we feel is the style of a beer. And we don’t even really like standard styles, though, so it’s a difficult thing. And then there are one-off batches we brew, just to see what we like. With our seasonals, you’re talking about a whole different set on top of that. Just picking one that would embody it, I would have to say our brown ale. It’s just a really light, easy-drinking brown, but you know you’re drinking a brown ale. It’s a brown brewed for Florida. If you had to twist my arm, I would have to say that one embodies our spirit, not sticking with style or what tastes really good.”
937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin