Drink Like A Local with cicerone Ian Salzberg

Ian Salzberg's Drink Like A Local program promotes Florida breweries throughout the state, hoping to get drinkers to solidify a Florida "beer identity."

His description of DLAL's efforts is summed up in the business's Facebook page: "If you go to Italy, the locals drink Peroni or Birra Moretti; in Ireland it's Guiness and Murphy's; in Texas it's Shiner, Maine...Shipyard. In Florida...what are we drinking?"

Salzberg is a certified cicerone -- like a sommelier who specializes in beer -- working at Brown Distributing, one of South Florida's largest craft-beer distributors and promoters.

Check out his thoughts on local beer and his plans for the upcoming South Florida Beer Week.


Photos: Celeb-spotting around South Florida

MM: WHAT IS DRINK LIKE A LOCAL?
IS:
People are not really aware of the local beer scene and what local beer is about. We want people to think about drinking like a local: "I want to drink like a local" and "What does that mean?"

Outside of the beer, we talked to some local artists to design our logo. Kendrick Kidd [the designer] did the artwork for Bold City Brewery [Jacksonville], our T-shirts are printed in Jupiter -- they're American Apparel, but at least they're produced in the U.S. -- our pint glasses are from Jacksonville, our stickers are printed in Miami.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO DRINK LIKE A LOCAL?
It helps the entire microeconomy, the local economy, when it comes to the ingredients, the retailers. Now that brewers are creating this product, we need to help foster them and keep things fresh.

We want to help link up the breweries with the consumers, their supporters and the retailers.

One thing that is really important is some [out-of-state] breweries can't keep supplying beer to markets like they used to. For breweries opening in Florida, we are their own market. They're not going to leave us if we don't support them.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE SOUTH FLORIDA'S BEER SCENE?
Florida is the 45th or 46th state in terms of breweries per capita, but there are a lot of breweries in the works. We're one of the fastest-growing markets for beer.

Now that people have taste buds, they want a brewery to call home. Over the past year, [the scene] has really grown. [And homebrewers] are going to take the movement to the next generation.

WHERE SHOULD PEOPLE GO ON A TOUR OF FLORIDA BEER?
On DrinkLikeALocal.com there's a map that highlights different breweries in the state -- different places that have DLAL accounts.

In Tampa, Cigar City is a big one out there, and there are a couple guys there in the work of opening breweries. Dunedin is the oldest brewery in Florida. Jacksonville, it's really impressive to see what's going on there. There are five or six breweries: Green Room, Intuition, Bold City...

CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT SOUTH FLORIDA BEER WEEK?
The week kicks off Jan. 19. We're helping put together a beer bus leaving out of Funky Buddha Lounge [Boca Raton], straight to Tequesta Brewing Company for about an hour, then Due South, then Brewzzi, then Funky again.

It's a good opportunity for people to be able to see the breweries without getting behind the wheel. It's still in the works. We don't know what the details are yet, but people will be able to hop and off the bus if they live in Jupiter and don't want to get dropped off in Boca.

It's only going to have about 48 seats, and people can stop at the breweries and get growlers or whatever they want. It's a laid-back type of thing.

And throughout the week, there will be events every day, all about Florida breweries.

Get tickets for SF Beer Week events at SouthFloridaBeerWeek.com. Check DrinkLikeALocal.com for local-beer events and opportunities to snag beer swag.