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Initial paperwork filed to open Clearwater-area brewery

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Clearwater may be getting a new microbrewery. According to documents filed with the state, a company named Fat Lion Brewing applied for an environmental resource permit from the Southwest Florida Water Management District in August.

According to that application the company “proposes a craft brewery with tasting room at a former furniture factory. The would-be brewery would renovate three buildings to make room for the establishment and demolish another for parking.

Fat Lion was established in September of last year by Leo Govoni, a former Republican House candidate and founder of the investment advisory firm Boston Asset Management, which is based in Clearwater.

Fat Lion purchased what used to be Southern Comfort Furniture for $1.5 million this March. According to a flier highlighting the property, it’s a nearly 50,000 square-foot facility with another nearly 3,000 square feet of office and production space located on 2.23 acres of land along 49th Street North.

While the property’s address is listed in Clearwater, it is actually near the St. Petersburg/Clearwater airport on land not typically considered a part of the Clearwater area.

In addition to filing for permits with SWFMD, Fat Lion also filed a trademark application last year and purchased the website domain name this summer.

It’s unclear whether Govoni will run the brewery or he’s putting affairs in order on behalf of a client. It’s also unclear when the brewery could open.

Govoni’s association with the process may raise eyebrows for  active Democrats and progressives. Govoni and Boston Asset have contributed money to American Crossroads, an ultraconservative PAC run by Karl Rove.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email [email protected]

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