Greg started home brewing beer in 2008 after a scuba diving vacation to the island nation of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia. The hotel where he was staying had a very small brewery operated by a retired Austrian Brew Master. Greg struck up a conversation with the Brew Master and after a brief tour of the brewery Greg returned home and ordered his first home brew kit. Greg shared his home brew with family and friends and served his beer at charity events and home brew festivals and won several Gold, Silver and Bronze medals.
In January of 2014, after 21 years in Florida Department of Corrections Probation and Parole service, Greg decided to retire from law enforcement and follow his dream of opening his own brewery.
Greg and Peter, friends of more than 30 years decided to join forces and open Wop’s Hops Brewing Company together. Peter, a mechanical engineer and successful building contractor lends his expertise as a contractor and trades craftsman which is vitally important to the success of the business. Their partnership was decided on while lounging in Pete’s pool while sipping on Wop’s Hops XIII Legion Irish Red Ale.
Why did we choose Historic Downtown Sanford to build our brewery? Quite simply, Sanford has a historic soul and prides itself on being different than most Florida cities. The city leaders welcomed our idea of opening a brewery, which had never been done in its long history. The city’s Mayor, Jeff Triplett welcomed the idea that we were bringing a very different business concept to Sanford and helped fast track our permitting process so that we could open as soon as possible. The city worked with us on planning and zoning as well as permitting and economic development. We had few issues with the city because they realized that we were serious about opening Sanford’s first micro-brewery and that we brought honesty and professionalism to the table.
We chose the 100 year old D. O. Brown Building located at 419 S. Sanford Ave as our brewery location. Formerly the home of the Stokes’ Seafood Market, a business that occupied the building from 1938 to 1992. The building is located in the newly renovated Sanford Ave street scape. The city of Sanford spent almost 3 million dollars improving the street, lighting and utilities which made our brewery location a smart choice. Our concept to provide a neighborhood brewery with warn lighting and a place to meet up with friends fit perfectly with the feel and look of the 100 year old building. The brewery was fully funded by Greg and Peter and they did all the interior demolition and buildout. This significantly reduced the added cost of outside contractors and they were able to open the brewery for around 80 thousand dollars. They took possession of the D. O. Brown building on April 1st 2014 and opened to the public on October 24th 2014.
Greg and Pete’s philosophy was to open the brewery that they could afford themselves and to grow the business slowly and responsibly. Throughout the four and a half years they have been opened, they expanded the brewery and brewing staff as well as added more inside seating and the restaurant. The addition of the food service has greatly affected profitability and they have gained a reputation for not only excellent beer but quality food as well.
What they have learned over the past four and a half years will carry over to the new location where they will be able to expand on the brewing capability and restaurant and tasting room sales and service.
Greg stated, “We have accomplished our short and medium range goals. Now it’s time to think long-term. We have established a loyal following and are known for brewing quality beer. Increasing our brewing capabilities and ability to expand our restaurant will make us more profitable. We must grow in size and increase our ability to make more beer in order to remain profitable in the growing craft beer market. This is the logical step for us.Discover our menu
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