Our Story2018-10-19T15:58:04+00:00

OUR STORY
HOW IT ALL BEGAN

It started with tinned fish.

BRU GROWLER BAR ORIGINS

Jill was on a flight home from Buffalo and was enjoying a leisurely flight sans children and husband. While reading the in-flight magazine, she saw the most beautiful photo of a Belgian snifter filled with amber beer and a alluring plate of rainbow-hued appetizers, including the aforementioned tinned fish. Perhaps she was just overly hungry, but she ripped the page out of the magazine (sorry, American Airlines), got home and shoved it into Christian’s face saying,

“We’re going to open a bar. THIS bar.”

Then she grabbed a sheet of grocery list paper from her fridge, drew a circle and wrote “BRU” in the center. “This is what we’re going to call it.”

Christian was both shocked and thrilled. He had always wanted to open a craft beer bar in his local neighborhood. Christian watched intently as the number of Florida breweries skyrocketed. And when the growler laws were changed in the summer of 2015 and 64oz fills became legal, he knew that the growing Florida’s growler culture was going to be part of the bar. Prior to this breakthru (or breakbru), the consistency and security of a corporate job always kept the idea as a far-off dream.

But now with both Jill and Christian fully committed, they charged full speed ahead into writing their business plan — and trying tinned fish. Then it hit them…

“Tinned fish are disgusting. Just beer it is!”

The rest of the ideas and concepts for BRU flowed organically from their cerebrums like a fine pilsner from the tap.

It’s been over two years since the business plan was born, and BRU has changed very little from its initial mission: to bring the best of Florida’s craft beer to northwest Tampa and to support Florida breweries to build their brands, and get their brews into the hands of craft beer fans. It’s Jill and Christian’s way to give back to the local community, help the Florida economy, and drink a whole lotta beer in the process!

Just not with tinned fish. Tinned fish are gross.

January 1981

Origins

Christian is born in Miami, FL. Jill is born in Buffalo, NY. A Bills/Dolphins rivalry immediately commences.

January 2000

Jill & Christian Meet

Christian & Jill both move onto the Business Floor of Shelton Hall at Boston University. Jill is a nerd. Christian looks like a beach bum. Jill doesn’t know why he keeps talking to her. They start dating. They drink a lot of PBR over the next 4 years.

January 2004

Tampa Calling

Jill & Christian are drawn to the sunny skies and I-275 traffic, making Tampa Bay their new home base. With a new corporate paycheck, Christian immediately starts spending lots amounts of time at Tampa Bay Brewing Co. and New World in Ybor. He brings home an IPA. Jill is convinced she doesn’t like this thing called “craft beer.”

January 2007

Tying the Knot

They marry in Miami. Jill drops her long, Polish last name and officially becomes a BRUgal. Jill still hasn’t changed her opinion on craft beer based on any IPA that Christian brings home. They move to the “up and coming” neighborhood Seminole Heights and enjoy eating tacos out a bus — before it was a thing. So hip, those two.

January 2008

An Idea BRUs

Christian and his buddy grab drinks at the World of Beer in Westchase and discuss how awesome it would be to own a bar. The wives throw a strong side-eye at them.

January 2013

Doubling in Size

Two children later, Jill needs a drink and decides to try a stout. Jill realizes that she does in fact enjoy craft beer as long as it’s not too hoppy. Baby steps.

July 2015

Florida Allows 64oz Growlers

Florida makes a major change to a quirky law and the 64oz growler becomes legal. Christian hasn’t dropped the whole “having a bar would be cool” idea, but adds on that fact that he’d like it to be a growler bar. Spousal side-eye continues.

January 2016

BRU Appears

Jill enjoys a solo flight home and reads an article with a mouth-watering pictures of a craft beer and appetizer plate. That night she draws a circle on a piece of fridge magnet paper and writes “BRU” in the center. She tells Christian that they’re opening a growler bar and this is what it will be called. Christian pours each of them a beer and the business planning starts immediately.

January 2017

Birthing BRU

The longest nine months in the history of mankind takes place as Jill & Christian go through the process of zoning, permits, build out, and beer sampling.

September 2017

BRU Opens in Odessa, FL

With construction nearly complete, Hurricane Irma sweeps through cancelling all scheduled final inspections and threatening to destroy BRU before the doors even open. Jill watches the potted palm plant sway violently on the security system cameras and figures if that plant doesn’t fall over, the bar will be okay.

The plant didn’t fall over. BRU quietly opened on September 27th with the Grand Opening Growlerween Celebration on October 28th. Waaaaaayyy more people show up than Jill & Christian ever anticipated. BRU is off to a running start.

February 2018

Florida Craft Beer Day

Christian and Jill are honored to have BRU Florida Growler Bar chosen as the official 2018 headquarters of Florida Craft Beer Day and host a podcast with the fine folks at Craft Brews & Geek News. BRU also becomes the unofficial and self-proclaimed “National Headquarters of US Curling Fans.” Gold medalist, Matt Hamilton, replies to BRU’s post on Instagram.

March 2018

BRU Gets Social

Jill is invited by Facebook to speak at a Women’s Business Conference about social media. Jill doesn’t know why the Facebook picked her, but decides to keep on keeping on with her weird social media posts.

May 2018

Helping Those In Need

BRU participates in many fundraising events throughout the year, including donating a tremendous amount of pint gift certificates to local area teachers. Apparently teachers really need a drink.

June 2018

BRU Hosts Beer Week

BRU Florida Growler Bar is one of the few bars in the State of Florida chosen as a host location for Yelp’s 2018 Beer Week. Tons of Yelp Elite Reviews storm the bar, drink the beer, and leave a trail of stars in their wake.

August 2018

Getting Recognition

BRU is nominated in three categories for Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay Awards: Best draft selection, Best Neighborhood Bar- Hillsborough, Best Bartender- Sarah Anderson.

The Future

Christian and Jill realize that Florida craft beers hold the key to immortality and cheers to 50 years of business. Jill truly enjoys her first hoppy beer.

The Future

Christian and Jill realize that Florida craft beers hold the key to immortality and cheers to 50 years of business. Jill truly enjoys her first hoppy beer.

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