There’s something brewing behind the scenes at The Ravenous Pig.
The award-winning Winter Park restaurant on Fairbanks Avenue is entering a new chapter with the announcement of a beer label, Ravenous Pig Brewing Company, and the construction of a 3,600-square-foot brewery next to the existing restaurant.
It’s a move that greatly increases the production of popular beer for which the flagship restaurant has become known. Ravenous Pig Brewing Company will feature six 30-barrel fermenters — a total of 180 barrels — compared to the 40 barrels in the existing brewing space at The Ravenous Pig.
“This is something we’ve been wanting to do for a while,” chef and co-owner James Petrakis said. “Just to supply ourselves, from a business mind set, makes sense. It helps fuel it.
“I think the excitement for us as a team and my brother-in-law, Larry (Foor), who’s the brewmaster, is just to be able to actually put our product into the market,” he said. “We get a lot of calls about our beer, and we haven’t been able to ever get it into the market, let other people try it in other places that are not mine and just get our name out that, ‘Hey, we’re making some really cool beers, some very good beers that we feel like can compete with anybody.’”
The new facility will be under Foor’s watch and will serve as the production and distribution hub for The Ravenous Pig and its sister restaurant, The Polite Pig at Disney Springs. It also will supply Cask & Larder-branded beers for their restaurant located in Terminal B of Orlando International Airport.
Meanwhile, the existing brewing space inside The Ravenous Pig will be used to create specialty, limited-release or experimental beers.
“The new facility will really focus on our six core brands that we’ll hit the market with — our IPA, our red, our pale ale, our golden ale, we’re coming out with a lager and then we’re going to have a lighter saison or gose,” Petrakis said. “It frees up the 40-barrel system to do one-off, kind of funkier beers or artistic beers — very, very craft. These are only going to be available in our taproom and than also to some of our friends like Redlight — some of the bigger beer bars that we’re friends with that want to carry those one-off, funky beers for the true beer lovers.
“It fits so well with what we do at Ravenous of changing our menu all the time and doing seasonal, cool ingredients,” he said. “We’re going to focus that 40-barrel system the same way we look at our menu, which is, ‘Hey, let’s make this ever-evolving. Let’s give people different things.’ You come in and there’s a new beer to try.”
There’s also plans for a phase two: an event space/beer garden located between the restaurant and the brewery that will feature a 20-person private dining table, plus an outdoor turf space with capacity for 50 guests.
Petrakis remembers opening Cask & Larder six years ago and venturing into the brewing business for the first time.
It’s amazing for him, his wife, Julie Petrakis, and Foor to see Ravenous Pig Brewing Company becoming a reality, James Petrakis said.
“It’s kind of surreal, and it’s great, because I remember the first five or six years we were open at Ravenous, we were closed on Sundays and Mondays, and so I would be in there prepping with chefs, and my brother-in-law would be in there basically home brewing on the stove — just practicing, wanting this to happen,” James Petrakis said. “We were all just having a good time and making good food. He was learning how to brew beer, and to see where we’re at now — and where we’re on the cusp of where we think we can take this — is really great.
“We feel like we’ve built something that can really withstand the times,” he said. “We’re excited for sure — we’re very, very blessed.”
The early stages of construction on the new brewery began earlier this month, and James Petrakis said the new facility should be open and ready to sell beer by around mid- to late-August.