How a Coral Gables Attorney Launched a Local Brewery
By J.P. Faber
When Carlos Padron started his career as an attorney in Coral Gables more than twenty years ago, he never anticipated that he would become the propriety of a brewery. Padron, a UM law school grad and partner in the firm Villa, Padron and Dias, says it all came about due to cigars.
Back in 1995, the young attorney had a client whose company made hand-rolled cigars. “I’m mostly a real estate transactional lawyer, but since then I’ve [also] been heavily involved in the cigar industry. For us cigar smokers it’s a lifestyle and an artisanal product.”
Fast forward to 2013, when Padron was drinking a craft beer at The Local 150 on Giralda. “I happened to go there for the Cigar City Maduro Beer. I had no idea [about craft beers] but this intrigued me.” In that moment, he saw the connection between hand-made cigars and locally brewed beer. “There are a lot of similarities in the passion and the lifestyle. That’s what led me into it.”
To learn about the art of beer making, Padron ended up taking a brewing class at FIU’s School of Hospitality. There he met future partner and head brewer Matthew Weintraub, and plans were put in motion to build a beer making company.
For the brewery, known as The Tank, they chose a commodious warehouse just off the Palmetto at 51st street and NW 72nd Avenue. There was no similar space in Coral Gables, says Padron, plus he and his partners already owned the building as part of a cigar import business.
“We happened to own the building, so that made it more attractive,” he says. “We had a lot of space there.”
Construction began in 2014, and the beer started flowing two years later. A year later they built a tasting room, which has now become a popular place to drink beer, eat burgers, and hold local gatherings. Since its inception, the tank has hosted events for everything from golf and fish tournaments to Easter Seals and the United Way. “It’s a relaxed environment, a nice relaxed place to talk,” says Padron, who remembers an event by the Arch Diocese of Miami as his favorite. “It was called Theology on Tap. ‘Two priests and a nun walk into a bar,’ is how the promotional literature began.”
In the meantime, The Tank’s beer has made it into 400 different establishments in South and Southwest Florida, with about 200 places keeping it as a regular offering. In the Gables, you can find it in Tap 42, Doc B’s, Graziano’s, The Globe, La Taverna Giralda and The Brickhouse, among other places. The most popular types are their El Farito IPA, their Freedom Tower amber ale, and La Finca Miami, a farmhouse Belgian-style pale ale.
We happened to own the building, so that made it more attractiveCarlos Padron
This month the Tank will start to bottle their brews as they look to expand beyond the local market, something of a challenge. “It’s a little bit harder for small guys to keep a semblance on the market, because we don’t have the same scale as the big guys,” says Padron. “But so far, so good.”
In the meantime, you can try their beer at one of Gables places that serves it consistently, or ask at some of the places that rotate it into their tap array, like 7 Dolls, Titanic, Shula’s 52, the Rathskeller on the UM campus, or at the Local 150, where it all started.
Chances are, however, that you won’t be allowed to smoke a cigar at any of these places. For that you’ll have to head out to The Tank itself.
“We’re trying to mix a little of both worlds,” says Padron. “We’re the only brewery in the world that has a cigar shop.”