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Beer on ice: Funky Buddha Brewery partners with Florida Panthers for new BB&T Center taproom

The hockey gloves are off at Funky Buddha Brewery.

The Oakland Park brewing giant has struck a three-year partnership with the Florida Panthers for a new craft beer and taproom inside the hockey team’s headquarters at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.

Funky Buddha Tap Room, what the brewery is calling its new satellite location, will open 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, one hour before the Panthers’ second home game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The 80-foot-long taproom sits on prime real estate inside the BB&T Center, wedged inside the arena’s main lobby across from the Pantherland merchandise shop, says John Linn, Funky Buddha’s marketing director.

“The Panthers have been around for 25 years, so they’re a pillar in South Florida,” Linn says. “And we have this young, rowdy, energized craft-beer audience that the Panthers were looking for.”

The taproom will offer zero chairs or barstools — go sip from your arena seat instead — but it will have 12 taps that will dispense core beers such as Floridian Hefeweizen and Hop Gun IPA, along with seasonal releases. The Buddha will also introduce Gloves Off IPA, a hazy, New England-style red ale with caramel notes, brewed to commemorate the Panthers’ 25th anniversary season, Linn says.

The brewery, which struck the deal with the hockey franchise this summer, will host the Panthers’ two-part Pucks and Pints Beerfest on Dec. 8 and March 10 at the BB&T Center. Meanwhile, the Buddha’s Oakland Park flagship brewery will host four Panthers watch parties during the 2018-19 season.

After the hockey team held a celebration in the Oakland Park taproom this summer, the Panthers broached the idea of a partnership, Linn says.

“We were pretty simpatico,” Linn says. “Shawn [Thornton, the team’s senior vice president of business operations and former Panthers player] comes in so pumped, and he’s like, ‘I’ve got this great idea for you: a red IPA. So we called it Gloves Off to nod to Shawn’s career as a professional butt kicker.”

Funky Buddha’s new BB&T Center outpost follows the brewery’s announcement in June that it sold its original Boca Raton taproom, nanobrewery and hookah bar to Robot Brewing Company. It represents a big expansion for South Florida’s largest brewery, which co-founder Ryan Sentz sold to Corona beer giant Constellation Brands in August 2017.

For more information, call 954-440-0046 or go to FunkyBuddhaBrewery.com.

pvalys@southflorida.com or 954-356-4364

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