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Catching Up During Corona: Union Beer Store

Since we're all cooped up indoors, we're giving some local businesses some love. Add them to your After Quarantine Bucket List and show them some love online!

And also, Happy Beer Day :)

At first glance at Union Beer Store's Instagram, you'll notice a doll of Stone Cold AKA Steven Anderson (famous from WWE). So what gives?!

Oh, our dear Estevey. It all began when David (El Jefe) was at Toys-R-Us back when it was still open and he was shopping for his son Axel, and decided, "Hmmm this can possibly be a cool addition to the bar." We had only been open a few months and after that, it just took a life of its own.

We would use him in our late-night skit videos a little in the beginning but then we killed him (broke into pieces) at Sprung Beer Fest a few years back, and we did not realize the connection people had to Estevey. People were really upset he died (broke) and we all kind of looked at each other and asked... okay, what’s next? We missed this doll that we gave life to, Estevey is essentially all of us. Estevey is the big kid in all of us. Estevey is always down for a good time and never backs down from any challenges. Estevey was our voice.

We laid him to rest and decided he deserved better, so we held a funeral for him. Yes, we actually had people come dressed in all black, people gave eulogies, and our friends from Tacos & Tattoos brought in a live Mariachi band to perform at the funeral. We then found out that La Piedra (The Rock) was involved in his killing, but that’s a whole other story for another day!

Courtesy of Instagram: @UnionBeerStore

By popular demand, we ended up bringing Estevey back to life (resurrected him via ceremonial 8th street tribute on our 1st year anniversary) and now he's become our official mascot. He has his own voice, beer, glassware. He is taken on vacations and festivals. He's really blown up and become a celebrity for us.

We tag Stone Cold on everything Estevey-related. He's tweeted back at us twice, but not because of our beloved mascot. We really love Estevey. He is family, and we hope he is family to you all!

You opened 3 years ago, congratulations! Do you think you are still true to the vision you had when you opened? What has changed between now and then? How do you want to continue to grow?

We definitely think we have stayed true to our vision - which is to carry a wide variety of AMAZING & eclectic beers.

Our vision was always to have a retro, and divey type of laid back vibe to it, and honestly, it feels just like that. When guests come to our bar, it doesn't just feel like they are coming to a bar, it is more as if they are coming to our living room, we're hanging out, and having a beer together.

We have taken great pride in is involving the community in as many interactive events as possible. Whether it be mascot funerals, brewery invasions, tap takeover/feud events, we have done many events like the ones we did with both MIA Beer Co. and Tripping Animals.

Union Beer Store is a hybrid bar and bottle shop. Does that mean that you have also dipped your hand into making your own beer?

No, as much as we've all wanted to try it, we've left that to the pros; except for Estevey because he knows a thing or two about brewing. We've done "collabs" with breweries where we discuss a style we would want them to do for us. Once it's hashed out we show up, help maybe clean up or can the beer and have a great time. Hence the quotation marks.

We've flown to Mikerphone Brewing in Chicago and Southern Prohibition in Hattiesburg for collabs. Both trips were a blast and they both brewed amazing beers for us that they canned and kegged and sent over to us to have on tap at Union.

What percentage of your beer is local, out of town, and out of the country?

Draft-wise, we try to carry more local drafts then nonlocal; at least half our taps local and the rest from amazing breweries across the U.S.

Courtesy of Instagram: @UnionBeerStore

We try to dedicate one of our fridges to local; some breweries have even made beers just for us like J. Wakefield, Tripping Animals, The Tank, and Hidden Springs up in Tampa.

We carry a small amount of Imports. Mostly Belgian or German. The rest are from dope breweries across the U.S. Currently we have a selection of around 150 different beers.

Tell me a bit about your “Craft Is Dead” sign?

The craft beer is "dead" sign was over an article we read and something a lot of purists/old school people in the industry were saying. So many of the breweries that have opened up the last 5 or so years brew what's called Hazy Ipas or Pastry Stouts and sours. You have your milkshake IPAs or this beer with lactose or that beer with lactose. Core/Flagship beers for breweries have kind of gone out the window.

The reason for the quotation marks is because craft beer is definitely not dead. It's just evolving. Breweries are doing so well. What started as mom and pop shops are now expanding to different cities and putting in taprooms or bigger breweries to keep up with the demand. We also say its "dead" because who would have ever thought you can open a craft beer spot in the middle of Calle Ocho and have it be an establishment where people frequent.

What other piece of art or memorabilia can be found at Union Beer?

Usnavi, AKA Josefina La Fina. Our Beautiful whale and the first piece of art/memorabilia at Union. Krave Art did it for us during the buildout. It was definitely the first sign of life/identity for us at Union. All the art and memorabilia you see at Union have all been gifted and donated to us by friends and regulars of ours.

What has been the biggest challenge so far, besides the current COVID-19 pandemic?

A lot of people may not know, but I'm sure much like many other small businesses have to deal with, we have dealt with A LOT in our short time span of being open.

We almost lost our entire building and business due to a fire that took place in our backyard in our neighbor's dumpster. It has really made us all stronger as a unit, as a business, a brand but more importantly stronger as a family.

What do you hope people get from having a beer at your bar?

We want them to come in and have an experience with us but in a way where it kind of creeps up on them the longer they are there. I say this more for new people coming in that maybe don't know too much about us or see some of the wacky stuff we do on social media.

We want them to come in. Sit down and feel comfortable. See our tap list and either be wowed by what we have or maybe not know anything on the menu and then be wowed by the staff going out of their way in finding the perfect beer for them. We want them to look up at the tv and say WTF why is there wrestling from the 1980s on but then stay to see who wins the Royal Rumble. We want them to take it all in. I want them to realize they are in the middle of Calle Ocho, at one of the best craft beer bars in the world and that this is or will be "my bar," while sipping a great brew with a fresh cafécito on the side too.

During COVID-19, they are offering the following:

-Open from 1-8 pm for to-go purchases & 1-7 pm for deliveries around all of Miami!

-Growler fills are available! Bring your own growler or you can purchase one next door at Ball & Chain for $10

-Gift cards, merchandise, and staff donations are available for purchase HERE

1547 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33135

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