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Photo by: Isaac Babcock - Ron Raike, a self-proclaimed 'beer geek', cradles hops used to brew custom beer at the Shipyard Emporium. He says the eatery will have beer to please anyone's tastes.
Winter Park / Maitland Observer Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011 8 years ago

Shipyard arrives in Winter Park

Shipyard Emporium opens
by: Sarah Wilson Staff Writer

The Maine-based Shipyard Brewing Company is docking its newest venture right here in Winter Park.

The Shipyard Emporium, opening Friday, Jan. 28, will feature a local market, bakery and in-house brew system.

Shipyard may be based in the Northeast, but the Emporium will be heavily rooted in the Winter Park community, said the man behind the tap, Ron Raike.

“Our goal is to be a local provider,” Raike said. “We don’t want to try to be a Whole Foods or a Publix — we want this place to be somewhere people can just come sit down, have a beer and enjoy some local food.”

The Shipyard Emporium is separated into three sections: the bar, a prepared foods section serving lunch and dinner, and a test kitchen that can be reserved for private events.

Many of the prepared food items will be provided by local chefs. It’s a place, Raike says, where the food merchants from the farmer’s market can sell their products the other six days of the week. In-house chef Joslyn Tusa will cook up additional foods, also using many local ingredients.

The beer

The bar, tended by Raike — a self-proclaimed “beer geek” with 20-plus years experience — will feature not only standard Shipyard favorites on tap, but a constantly changing assortment of specialty drafts crafted from his own imagination.

Dark and heavy, light and easy, some with peppers, others with grapefruit, Raike says there will be a beer to fit everyone’s palate.

“What I make is eclectic,” he said. “So many people just drink beer, but I’m out to make sitting down and drinking a beer an experience.”

And that experience could be through pairing each beer with a special bread from the Emporium’s bakery, or by mastering the flavors of the beer to have a sort of time-release effect, making drinkers taste the elements in their glass in layers.

Local beer lovers can sign up for Shipyard’s Mug Club and get their own blue ceramic mug to hang above the bar. Members get extra beer, special offers and a free dinner on their birthday.

‘Filling a niche’

General manager of the Emporium, Allison Stevens, says the market is about more than just beer and food, but a place where locals and their entire families can come to hang out and relax.

“We really want to reach out to the community,” Stevens said. “I think we’re really filling a niche that wasn’t here before.”

The Emporium’s outdoor area will have supersized versions of classic games such as Jenga and Connect Four to entertain both children and adults alike.

“We’re keeping it casual,” Stevens said. “You can either grab a meal quick-serve, grab and go, or stay and relax.”

The president of Shipyard Brewing Company, Fred Forsley — who is visiting from Shipyard headquarters in Portland, Maine, to oversee the grand opening on Friday — says the concept for the Emporium has evolved somewhat since its initial plans set forth in August. The end product, he said, is something the company is proud of.

The grand opening will allow the public to meet the Shipyard brew-crew and sample some of Raike’s signature beers and learn more about how he makes them. Local vendors will also set up outside the location, previously occupied by Strollo’s Cucina Due, to celebrate the opening and give people a chance to taste what the Shipyard Emporium has brought ashore here in Winter Park.

Learn more

The Shipyard Emporium is located at 200 W. Fairbanks Ave. in Winter Park. The grand opening will be held from 6-10 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 28.

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