Right at home: Next to the Dunedin Woodwright, a different kind of craft

Woodwright Brewing's German-style beer is pouring in the former Dunedin Woodwright showroom.

click to enlarge The Woodwright Brewing Company taproom in downtown Dunedin. - Ryan Ballogg
Ryan Ballogg
The Woodwright Brewing Company taproom in downtown Dunedin.

In an historic building in downtown Dunedin, two crafts are practiced with passion. The Dunedin Woodwright creates heirloom wood furnishings. Woodwright Brewing Company makes beer. They share the principle of using simple materials in a time-honored fashion, with the right amount of nuance.

Grant Painter acquired the building at 985 Douglas Ave. when he was 21 years old from famed boat builder Clark Mills; Mills designed some of the most popular models of sailing dinghies in the world there.

The Painter family opened the Dunedin Woodwright in 1995. Eight years later, they added a showroom onto the workshop to display select pieces. However, since most of the works were pre-sold commissions, the showroom never got used quite as intended.

When Grant’s wife Eunice started homebrewing about three years ago, an idea for the underutilized space occurred to them. She’d been pouring beer in their showroom low-key for some time, but Woodwright Brewing Company officially debuted near the beginning of March.

Eunice used the trial period to perfect and take feedback on her German-style beers without the pressure of a big opening. The Painters also used this time to transform the showroom into an elaborate taproom, a wooden ode to the building’s past and present.

In fact, the Dunedin Woodwright built most of the furniture, except for the barstools and hop-shaped lamps over the bar. The bar itself is crafted from a rough chunk of cherrywood at one end, gradually transforming into the likeness of a boat deck. Another tabletop in the back was hewn from a local walnut tree that grew through a fence; some of the barbed wire is still visible. A self-supporting staircase leads up to a loft with heart of pine floorboards salvaged from an old house a block from the brewery.

The seamless design is a fitting backdrop to enjoy one of Woodwright Brewing’s traditional beers.

Eunice had a longtime interest in German brews and sought out an apprenticeship at Seminole’s Rapp Brewing Company not long after she started brewing at home. After a year of study, Grant says Eunice felt more confident in her abilities.

“It’s hard to draw a line between homebrew and something that’s ready to show the public,” Grant says. “Eunice wanted to make sure the beer was good enough.”

Woodwright Brewing premiered with 11 beers on tap, including a dunkelweizen, hefeweizen, and German amber and lager. The taproom is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

“The community response and acceptance has been overwhelming,” he says.

While that’s a good thing, they’re running at capacity on a two-barrel system. Once the brewery gets adjusted, Grant says to look for extended hours, live music, bottle releases and some special events later in the year.

Like the Dunedin Woodwright, Woodwright Brewing is a family affair, co-owned by the Painters with help from another local family, the Mackenzies. Grant says their family is even bigger than that, though: “We couldn’t have done this without the help, advice and encouragement from Dunedin Brewery, 7th Sun [Brewery], Stilt House [Brewery] and Rapp Brewing.”

Eunice was unavailable for comment.

“She’s out kegging beers right now,” Grant says. “It’s her birthday today.”
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