The World of Beer
Craft Beers ~ Imports ~ Domestic ~ Kegs ~ Wine
Over 600 Imported & Specialty Beers
Mon. - Sat. 12pm - 11pm
Sun. 12pm - 9pm
2809 Gulf to Bay Blvd. Clearwater, FL 33759
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The World of Beer has it all: more than 600 labels, from the run-of-the-mill beer you buy for your weekend kegger, to the specialty beers you sample on your vacation travels and wish you could find here at home.
“Heck, people come here on vacation, looking for unique beers,” says Kevin “K-DOG” Leonard. K-DOG started out as a customer of The World of Beer back in 1998. Now, he owns the place.
“The shop got a big boost back in early 2000 when the late beer reviewer Michael Jackson included it in his book, “Great Beer Guide.” People come here from Finland, the UK, Germany, all to find the specialty beers they can’t find anywhere else. And for the locals, we’re one of the stops they make on their way to Phillies spring training baseball games.”
As a regular customer, K-DOG saw the shop change over the years becoming a viable beer destination. He’d hang out with other beer enthusiasts and talk about interesting brews. He learned about craft beers. He found his own taste in beer changing over time.
And when the original store finally closed in late 2010, K-DOG decided to stake his claim on his own piece of the American Dream: he reopened the place on January 21, 2011.
“We’ve been doing a really good business,” says K-DOG.
“We’re at 600 different beers and growing, and we’re growing our customer base, too.”
That’s due in large part to K-DOG’s emphasis on knowing something about all the beers he stocks.
“I’ve grown into a knowledgeable beer drinker,” he says, “and I listen to my customers, too. We talk beer, learn from each other, and when someone just learning how to savor different beers comes in, we can offer them some good direction.
“One thing is true across the board,” says K-DOG. “The beer you drink when you turn of age is not going to be the beer you drink when you’re 30, 40, or 50. You drink different beers and your tastes get more refined.”
K-DOG now enjoys helping other beer drinkers find new beers to enjoy, suggesting brews with unusual flavors or unknown labels. There’s beer with a chocolate-y flavor, and beer that tastes of raspberries. “Hoppy” beers. Pilsners and stouts. Smoked beers.
“There are 58,000 different beers brewed around the world,” says K-DOG, “and only 20,000 of them are available outside their brewing areas. The United States brings in about half of them, and Florida offers about 4,000 of those. So when someone comes in with a suggestion for a new beer to stock on our shelves, we have room to grow. We listen, we sample it, and if it’s something we think our customers will like, we add it to our stock.
“There’s always something new in brew at The World of Beer.”