Here’s what Garagiste Meadery has in store for Tampa Heights
Award-winning creations from the local meadery are planned on tap and in bottles.
by Meaghan Habuda
A taste of one Michigan mead was life-changing for the meadmaker behind Garagiste Meadery.
Owner Chad Wiltz, an early adopter of craft beer who says he’s been a beer guy for as long as he can remember, discovered fairly quickly that nothing he could find in stores compared to the bottle of Ferndale, Michigan, mead his friend shared with him that day. So, in 2014, he started making his own as Garagiste Meadery — doing batches here and there, sharing with friends, and pouring at festivals and small events.
“And one thing kind of led to another,” said Wiltz, adding that he realized there might be an economic opportunity in meadmaking after happy sippers showed an interest in buying his small-batch, artisanal wares.
With that, Wiltz launched an Indiegogo campaign back in March. But it didn’t take long for his low expectations to be rocked — $10,000 turned into $20,000, $50,000 into $60,000. By April 2, the crowdfunding campaign had been 126-percent funded with $63,431, successfully meeting his Indiegogo goal of $50,000 or more.
Finding a site for his commercial meadery in Tampa Heights seemed like a no-brainer. Wiltz liked the vibe of the neighborhood and how it was changing; while he was looking, Foundation Coffee Co. had just gone in near Hidden Springs Ale Works, Rialto Theatre and other coming-soon projects, including Heights Public Market and The Hall on Franklin.
Garagiste began its federal and state permitting process in July, a step the owner says is mostly complete. Despite “some real nightmarish issues with zoning” (Wiltz says he’s been going back and forth with the City of Tampa about parking for four months), he’s pretty optimistic the meadery’s building at 1506 N. Florida Ave. will be finished by April.
Meadery Profile: Garagiste Meadery