Dissent Craft Brewing, known for its “outspoken ales,” plans to open its downtown Lakeland location on Oct. 15 in a 2,000-square-foot storefront at 125 S. Kentucky Ave. next to Pita Pit. It is Dissent’s first expansion beyond its St. Petersburg base.

“We’re excited. We’re glad the end is in sight and looking forward to get going and be a part of the community,” said co-owner Chis Price, 42, of Tampa.

Dissent announced on Facebook it plans a soft opening with limited hours on Oct. 7-10.

Julie Townsend, executive director of the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority, believes the brewery will benefit the downtown area.

“I like the idea that Dissent is a local brewery out of St. Pete that is expanding to our area. Folks look for craft breweries as a destination, so I definitely think its addition is positive for downtown,” she said.

Chris Price

Price is one of the founders of the first Dissent Craft Brewing location in St. Petersburg, which opened in 2017 at 5518 Haines Road in a strip shopping center.

“We’ve had two new owners come on in the last 24 months and one of the owners lives in Lakeland. When we started looking around, he obviously suggested Lakeland. When we looked at it, it made sense. We found a great spot and ultimately this is where we landed,” Price said.

The other co-owners are Kevin Stringer of Lakeland and Ashley Mills of St. Petersburg. Price said they chose downtown Lakeland because of the potential for foot traffic.

Click any image for a larger view:

Photos by David Dickey Jr.

“In our original St. Pete location, there’s zero foot traffic at all,” Price said. “We wanted a spot that was in a place where there was foot traffic so downtown was really appealing to us.”

Price said they started working with architects to design the brewery just before the pandemic began.

Read our 2019 article announcing plans for Dissent Craft Brewing.

“We had a bunch of hurdles to get this project off the ground,” Price said. “COVID obviously had a huge impact. It’s been a fight for the whole time it seems.”

He added that many of the contractors were short-staffed and sometimes took longer than six weeks to come on site to complete a job.

As one of the head brewers, he’s excited to introduce his “outspoken ales” to Lakeland. All of the beers served in the brewery will be Dissent beers. The company will brew the beers in both locations

“Anytime you have an establishment serving their uniquely crafted products, that creates a unique experience,” Townsend said. “If it was just another bar serving Bud Light I would not be as excited about it, and I don’t think the public would be either.”

Chris Price said they pride themselves on the variety of beers they offer. (Check a list at Untappd.)

“We have a solid core of IPAs. We also do a lot of sours. Sours are probably our best-selling beers right now,” Price said.

The brewery will serve wine as well. It will not serve food, but patrons can bring in their own fare.

“Our focus on our product is what stands out. We’ve always done things a little bit different in terms of beers we brew. Doing things like mango habanero IPAs or we have a blueberry marshmallow sour,” Price said.

Price has been brewing beer for more than 15 years and loves to experiment and push new boundaries. He studied the craft through the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus’ Brewing Arts program.

“Putting together beers and recipes is sort of my outlet for fun and relaxation and I just happen to turn it into a business,” Price said.

Brewing beer isn’t his only career. Price also works as a systems architect in the information technology sector. He added he’s looking forward to participating in charitable events and teaching people about the craft of brewing.

The brewery will be open Tuesday-Sunday, from 3 p.m. to midnight on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and from noon until midnight on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

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Stephanie Claytor has been a broadcast and digital journalist in Lakeland since 2016, covering Polk County for Bay News 9 and currently free-lancing for LkldNow. She is an author of travel and children's books.

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