‘Thousands of Dollars’: Sanford Brewery Flooded by Hurricane Ian

SANFORD, Florida. – Dees Brothers Brewery, a business in downtown Sanford, was among those affected by flooding from Hurricane Ian last week.

According to owner Michael Dees, the brewery opened last August amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While business was slow for the first two months, Dees said business was finally able to pick up, although Ian put a stop to that.

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Dees said he started hearing a trickle of water around 5 a.m. Thursday.

He told News 6 he stayed at the store Thursday night to try to avoid extensive flood damage. However, he said water started gushing out of several holes in the wall and gushing out of the sewers.

“All combined, that was quite a few gallons per minute,” he said.

Brenda Urias, owner of the Bicikleta store across the street, said she was cleaning her store after water leaks caused her ceiling panels to fall to the floor.

She said after cleaning she scoured the area around her store, looking for others who might need help, that’s when she spotted Dees struggling with the water.

“I mean, we didn’t even think about it,” she told News 6. “It’s like, OK, let’s get some mops and help them out.”

While they were finally able to clean up the brewery, a beer vat was destroyed due to a power outage, Dees explained.

“There are thousands of dollars of retail value in that tank,” he said.

Many business owners across the state suffered similar situations in the wake of Ian, which brought historic flooding to much of central Florida.

Governor Ron DeSantis announced at a conference on Tuesday that $50 million would be made available through the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, which will provide loans of up to $50,000 to help Florida businesses impacted by Ian.

“It provides short-term loans at 0% interest to small businesses that suffer economic or physical damage due to Hurricane Ian,” DeSantis said at the conference.

While the funding will go to help Florida small businesses, Dees said Florida residents should always consider lending a hand to their neighbors.

“It’s really important to help people around you because if we all work together, we can all get through this mess and be successful,” Dees said.

Applications for the program will remain open until December or until funds are exhausted. For more information or to apply, visit floridadisaster.biz.

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