News about the Montenegro Brewery

The Long Road to Here by Ernest Sittenfeld

July 31, 2010

My job today is to provide an update on the progress of the Montenegro Brewery to all the nice folks who keep asking me about it.

You have undoubtedly been reading about the brewery in the Naples Daily News, although our project tends to disappear in comparison to the Jackson Labs project which has stirred up some controversy in the community. The brewery, fortunately, does not provoke any controversy, and I am happy to tell you that we are progressing very nicely, and well within our target schedules.

Technically, we are called the Southwest Florida Brewing Company, but our brand is Montenegro Beer and most people refer to it as the Montenegro Brewery. It is going to be built in Immokalee, hopefully on the grounds of the Immokalee Airport.

I say “hopefully” because we have completed all the paperwork to be able to lease a six acre parcel on the airport property, which is zoned for industrial development. We selected Immokalee as the site for a number of reasons, but primarily because, as long time Collier County residents, we hope to jump start some meaningful industrial development there and provide good, permanent jobs for the people in the area.

We expect to have a lease in hand by the end of September or the middle of October. In the meantime, work continues to design the brewery, work on recipes and formulas, discuss the details with potential consultants, civil and industrial engineering firms, machinery suppliers and marketing people. We want to have everything ready to roll by the time we get our land parcel.

So, what is the brewery going to do for the investors, for the community, the county and the state?

We are going to make good beer, in a modern, clean, well run plant. The people of Collier County will be proud of the plant and of the beer, and, hopefully, our presence will attract other new businesses to the County.

There are two types of investors; the institutional investors, mainly off shore who recognize the merits of our project and invest because they are looking for a good, safe return on their investment, and the local investors, who will participate in a good project (ours) for the same reasons PLUS the pride and satisfaction they get from knowing they are supporting a new local industry which will provide good jobs for the people who need them the most AND which will contribute 10% of its profits to (the Naples Wine Festival) charities.

We are very grateful to the people who have given us encouragement, Councilman Jim Coletta, County Manager Leo Ochs, Penny Phillippi and Brad Muckel of the CRA, our friend Fred Thomas and, of course, Tammy Nemecek, Beth Sterchi and Kristi Bartlett of the EDC. No project of this importance can be built without the enthusiasm and support of good people, and we are very fortunate to be able to count these and many more as our friends and neighbors.

I won’t always write about the brewery, but I will give readers updates from time to time, and readers are welcome to send comments and suggestions.

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