Keel and Curley Winery, Plant City, Florida, was started in the spring of 2003 in the kitchen of founder and owner, Joe Keel. Keel, a central Florida blueberry farmer, wanted to find something to do with his end of crop blueberries. He decided blueberry wine would be interesting and dabbled with his creation in the family farm house kitchen. He started that spring of 2003 with 10 gallons of blueberry wine. The wine came out okay, but drinkable. So he made 10 more gallons and it got better each time, until it turned into the unique and charming flavors that Keel & Curley is known for today.
That was the beginning of a company that produces over 20,000 cases of quality wines a year. The wine sells at 1,500 retail locations across Florida and metro Atlanta, including most Publix stores and Total Wine & More.
Keel & Curley Winery had a predominately female customer base, but they planned to tap the male market and growing craft brewing industry, with the debut of Two Henrys Brewing Company in 2013 – and beer.
Keel said expanding to a beer brewing business was a natural path to take since they already had the equipment, facilities and tasting room.
People are looking for craft beers,” he said, adding that 60 to 65 percent of wine drinkerstend to be female. “Beer is the complete opposite demographic.
Keel was excited about the likelihood that more men would visit their tasting room. He said wine connoisseurs would continue to enjoy their blueberry and other wines while beer drinkers could taste the four or five different varieties of beer introduced.
As far as the name of the brewery, Keel said it’s based on Henry Flagler and Henry Plant, two businessmen who joined teams and formed the railroad system that helped connect the east coast and west coast of Florida.
In 2014 they made the decision to move into cans for restaurants and stores, given the winery’s connections and strong retail presence. They approached Cask and asked us if we could manufacture an automated canning system that could accommodate multiple beverage types and can widths.
Our systems have always been designed to fit multiple can heights with the same diameter, but this was a challenge to fit both multiple beverage types and multiple can widths. A system upgrade was developed to make the can change over more efficient. The system can accommodate the different can widths with minimal change over time.
With the addition of the nitrogen doser, we were able to meet the challenge with canning non- carbonated beverages.
Currently they can beer and cider in 12 oz cans and wine in 187 ml cans.
“Our top of the line canning machine can handle almost any beverage in almost any size can,” proclaims Joe Keel.