Address: 1547 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33135
People love the idea of having a selection; going out somewhere and having a plethora of options staring back at them & having their final decision being based upon either a suggestion by their bartender or by just going on whatever they randomly decide to choose that day.
Enter the brewpub; a place where you don’t have to pick from one of any local breweries choice of beers, but beers from breweries in your own city, state, throughout the nation or international beers as well!
Hopculture Magazine did a great article for Union Beer Store and how David & Cici came to open their establishment; this post is not going to be about that (you can read about the start up here) no, this post is about the boys (and lady) behind the brand.
You know the old saying that you can’t work with family? Well at Union, they completely throw that theory out the window. There you will find one of the most tight knit teams in the game; while they aren’t blood relatives, the team is closer than most families. They’re so close in fact that they’ve had the same staff since they opened their doors back in January 2017.
Adrian Castro (better known as Manolo) was born and raised here in the MIA. While he might be younger than David, he can definitely hang with the big boys. David is so close with Adrian in fact that he is the God Father of David’s child Axel. Adrian had a pretty cushy desk job (HR Rep at Miami Dade) that he would go into day in and day out, but it was also a job that he really didn’t have a passion for. When he found out that David was opening Union, he asked him persistently to take him on and to let him work with the company; David flat out rejected Adrian time and time again. After several attempts to try and persuade David to employ him, Adrian sent a crazy long text that got broken up into ten tinier unorganized texts (David had an android at the time) and David finally lamented to Adrians persistence and let him join the team. While talking to Adrian he had said that “everything comes full circle; if you have the chance to do something for yourself and not the man, for something you’re truly passionate about, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Jacob actually worked with David opening J. Wakefield (on the side) before he had joined the Union team. Jacob was born and raised here in Miami, but ended up moving to New York and lived there for a while a little later on in life. He eventually moved back to Miami and bar-tended as well. He ended up getting a job at World of Beer and by his own admission, he got that job because after work he would just hop on over and just start drinking some beers. Before he picked up a job at WOB, Jacob had worked in a different career where he helped people; Jacob was a nurse! He graduated with a nursing degree and even worked as a nurse as well; but like Adrian, he decided to help people in a different way. He worked at WOB and helped out at J. Wakefield; that’s how him and David initially met. They worked so well together David invited Jacob to join the team and David accepted without hesitation. While it may stun some that Jacob left nursing to help open/ work at Union I think what Jacob finished the interview with made the most sense “I love helping people, and I love beer; why not join the two together and do something that I absolutely love.”
And then we have Enrique… who the fuck is that guy? I actually didn’t get a chance to interview him that day; Enrique, my dude, whenever you get a chance hit me up and we can meet up for a drink or two!
Finally we have David & Cici, the two that brought the whole crew together. These two actually met back in 2009, moved in together in 2010 and were married in San Francisco with a honeymoon in San Diego in 2014; a great place for craft beer of course! With their extensive background working in the beer world, even going as far as to start Miami’s own first brew bus in 2013, they finally wanted to settle down and open their own business and be their own bosses; enter Union Beer Store. They felt that Wynwood was over saturated with a bunch of places to drink beer, so they decided to call Little Havana home and start their beer bar there.
While talking to David I had asked “why Union, what’s in the name?” He then proceeded to tell me the story of Cici’s father. Her father was a huge voice in the Pan Am Union back in the day. He stated that “we decided to go with Union Beer Store first and foremost in remembrance of her father. And after that we went with Union because we wanted a place where people can come together ‘in union’ to drink beer and have a good time.” We talked a bit more and what he wrapped up the interview with could not be more true. He said “beer is art. it’s always evolving and will continue to grow and change when there were some people who initially thought it was just a trend.”
One aspect that they all equally stated throughout the interview was that they wanted to bring the community together; they wanted a place where you can come in, grab a beer, tell some stories and have a laugh. I have been to Union a couple times before conducting this interview and I can tell you from experience that these are the vibes that Union puts out. So next time you’re in the neighborhood, come in, try some new craft beer and I guarantee you’ll be sure to leave with some laughs, some new friends and a further appreciation for craft beer.
Website: Union Beer Store
Facebook: Union Beer Store