Born in 2012 out of a Latin American gastropub, Darwin’s on 4th was well known throughout the Florida culinary world. We began brewing culinary-inspired beers on a modest brewing system to pair with the brewpub’s cuisine. In 2013, we expanded operations to a fifteen-barrel production facility, taproom, and beer garden and Darwin Brewing Company quickly became a staple in the burgeoning Florida craft beer landscape.
With deep roots in our community, it is not enough to simply exist within the community, we aim to be a part of it. We work with local organizations to support and give back to the community. We are proud to call Bradenton, FL home.
Darwin Brewing is dedicated to serving and delivering the highest quality beers possible. Beers that everyone can enjoy. We incorporate ingredients indigenous to Florida and the Americas creatively into our brews, brewing six year-round, four seasonals, and a variety of other specialty brews. We are Evolutionary Florida Beers!
Our taproom, located in downtown Bradenton across the street from LECOM Park offers a complete beer experience with 14 Darwin beers on tap, flights, pints, growler fills, and packaged beer to go. Make sure to check out our brewery shop to pick up Darwin apparel, barware, and merchandise. We look forward to having a pint with you.
Blue Hellenga, Director of Operations
I am originally from the Pacific North West. I moved to Miami when I was 20 years old to have a new experience and see the other side of the US. I started frequenting a specialty bottle shop/beer garden in North Miami and got bit by the bug. I remember going into the restroom and seeing a American Home Brewers Association poster on the wall and got interested in what that was all about. I tried a homebrew.. It was an okay 5 gallon Belgian batch. I ended up ordering ingredients for multiple batches of different styles. IPA’s became a new love to me and after having our first Child my wife Bianca and I moved to Eugene Oregon. Eugene is in the Shadow of Portland with Beer but has many staple Breweries and Cideries. I wound up Brewing at Steelhead Brewery Aka McKenzie Brewing in the heart of downtown and eventually built and ran the Production facility that was a few blocks West of the Brew pub. I grew to love the NW/West coast style IPA’s and Big Russian Imperial stouts. I’m looking forward to a Florida crowd with a different palette and glad to have this opportunity to keep things rolling at Darwin Brewing Company.
Bill Cornelius, Owner
I am from a really small town in east central Illinois. After graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in production management, I worked as a production buyer at Ford Motor Company. After working 5 years at Ford, I started my own manufacturer’s representative company selling metal stampings and precision machined parts to the automobile company. In early 2000, I became a high school teacher in Northville, Michigan where I taught computer aided drafting and coached basketball and track. In 2010, I moved to Sarasota where I bought a building which housed a brewpub. The brewpub tenant skipped town in 2013 but left the brewing equipment. I was now in the beer business.
Luke Johnson, Sales Director
Born in Iowa but raised in Clearwater, FL after my family moved there when I was 3. I grew up in the beer industry as my dad was in it for 25 years. My first job in the industry was loading keg trucks and working in the warehouse at Great Bay Distributors in St. Petersburg, FL.
After graduating from Benedictine College in Kansas I started my professional career in the beer industry with Doll Distributing in Des Moines, IA. Over the next 10 years I moved my way up from delivery driver and on-premise account manager to off-premise account manager. I saw an opportunity to work on the supplier/brewery side of the industry with Oskar Blues in 2015 and for the next two years represented them as their Iowa and Nebraska Territory Sales Rep. From there I took an opportunity with another great brewery, Firestone Walker as their Market Manager in Iowa. Having spent 15 years living and working in the Midwest my wife and I had always had the goal of moving back to Florida someday. In 2019 that goal was achieved when my wife was promoted and transferred back to Clearwater for her company.
With a new home in a new state came a new position for me as well. I became the Florida and Georgia Area Sales Manager for Mighty Swell Hard Seltzer. Having the desire to be back in the beer industry I took the role of Sales Director at Darwin Brewing Company in 2021.
I am proud to be part of this great team and contributing to Darwin Brewing Company’s success for years to come. Cheers!
Seana Riley, Taproom Manager
Newer to the Bradenton area, I moved here in 2018 to escape another long, cold winter up north. I am a Michigan native and that is where my interest & passion for quality craft beer originated. I am a huge fan of IPAs, Belgium style dubbels, and milk stouts. I am excited to expand my beer & brewing knowledge and Darwin Brewing Co is a great place to do so. I look forward serving Darwin’s superior brews where the craftsmanship shines through.
After moving home from college I started to homebrew with my dad who had been home brewing since I was little, one of my earliest memories is of him was he and a buddy homebrewing and making sausages in the garage.
After catching the brewing bug, my partner and I decided to move out to Portland, Oregon where I got a job with Laurelwood Brewing. A few years later my passion for the craft and love for the beach brought us to Florida where I have been brewing beers ever since.
Favorite beers are crispy lagers and tropical/hoppy IPAs.
Area Sales Manager – Southwest Florida
I was born in Toronto, Canada, and my family moved to Sarasota when I was 12.
My interest with craft beer started early in my professional career. I was lucky enough to have a job that gave me the ability to be in a different city or state every week, It soon became my hobby to stop at each local brewery along the way. I was able to taste, experience and analyze beer from every region of the country.
In 2014 I was able to turn my hobby into a business when my now Wife and I opened and operated Brew Thru SRQ, a brewery tour that provided customized craft beer tours in Manatee and Sarasota Counties. In 2015 I started my professional career in the craft beer industry when I became a sales representative for Big Top Brewing Co. for the Sarasota, Bradenton & Pensacola FL markets.
In 2018 I moved to Denver, CO for a job opportunity outside of beer. I couldn’t stay away for long because in 2021 I joined Darwin Brewing Company as the Area Sales Manager for Southwest Florida. I’m excited to contribute to this amazing and growing team!
Area Sales Manager – South Florida