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Exclusive: Cigar City’s lead brewer joining soon-to-open Wicked Barley

Originally Published by Jacksonville Business Journal

The lead brewer for the biggest name in Florida craft brewing is joining the Wicked Barley team.

Fred Thibodeaux, who has been with Cigar City since 2013, will join Wicked Barley as production manager, partner and brewmaster Phil Maple said.

Maple said adding Thibodeaux gives Wicked Barley’s credibility a boost, and is an endorsement of Jacksonville’s craft beer scene.

“He’s worked for the past few years at Cigar City, which is probably the most successful brewery in Florida,” Maple said. “It’s huge for beer in Jacksonville. We’re getting someone from one of the nation’s best breweries.”

Maple said another one of the major benefits is the experience Thibodeaux brings to the table. In addition to his run with Cigar City, he has a long track record in the industry, including working with North Carolina-based Duck Rabbit Brewery and Colorado-based Gordon Biersch.

“We believe our recipes are pretty solid, but none of us have worked long term, so he brings a different perspective,” Maple said.

Maple said adding Thibodeaux to the brewing staff will put them in a better place production-wise.

“The people we have in place – we believe in ourselves, but Fred will fix that learning curve,” Maple said. “He’s going to help us overcome that right off the bat.”

Thibodeaux has particular experience with sours and barrel-aged beers, something Wicked Barley will be exploring.

He will be the fourth member of Wicked Barley’s brewing staff, which includes Maple, brewery operations director Tobin Turney and lead brewer Bob Maple. His first day will be June 13.

Thibodeaux’s departure comes shortly after Fireman Capital Partners, the holding group that also owns Oskar Blues, acquired Cigar City.

Wicked Barley, which is located on Baymeadows Road, is planning to open later that month.

May 13, 2016
Posted in: Brewing, Press, Updates

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