Craft beer lovers who might’ve been disappointed when Funky Buddha Brewery was sold to Constellation Brands last August, can take solace in this feel-good story. Ryan Sentz, founder of the Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery in Boca Raton, Florida, has handed over the establishment to family friend and homebrewer Allen Steen. And he will be transforming the space into the Mad Robot Brewing Company & Quixotic Lounge.
The deal was originally announced via a Facebook post last Thursday but according to an article on Brewbound, the transaction was actually completed a month ago. The deal gives Robot Brewing the lounge’s single-barrel brewery and the adjacent homebrewing supply store for “zero dollars”.
But the deal does not include the intellectual property, recipes, the building, nor the land it’s on.
Steen made a $30,000 downpayment which was immediately returned under the condition that it be invested into the business. And if certain goals are reached, it’s possible that Sentz and his wife, Giani, can earn as much as $250,000 over the next five years. However, there are no guarantees.
“We literally took nothing, with no personal guarantee,” Sentz told Brewbound. “For us, this is giving someone an opportunity.”
The Funky Buddha brand was created at the Boca Raton location back in 2006. But when the Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park, Florida, was sold, the original nano brewery and hookah lounge were not included in the sale.
Sentz and his wife intended to continue running the Boca Raton location but realized they didn’t have the time nor were they certain how to move forward with the brand after the main brewery was sold to Constellation.
“After months and months of ideas and propositions, we ultimately thought the best thing for us and the business especially was to find someone with the same passion and excitement that carried us all these years,” he wrote on his Facebook post. “We found those people ten-fold with Allen Steen and his wife Natalia Vallejos.”
Steen and Sentz have been friends for years and the two collaborated on a beer for the Great American Beer Festival’s Pro-Am Competition in 2017. It was at that time Sentz proposed selling the lounge to Steen and serious discussion began in January.
The entire staff along with brewers Scott Chadwick and AJ Spagnola will be kept on to craft experimental beers while Steen will focus on farmhouse ales. The team will be brewing four times a week and are expected to produce 180 barrels annually.
Steen said that Robot Brewing plans to maintain the lounge’s ambiance of dim lighting, hookahs, and live entertainment.
“The lounge is like a really, really weird and eclectic place with a really chill vibe,” Steen said. “We love that, and it’s something we want to keep here—a relaxed and welcoming vibe.”