Millennial Brewing Company
American Revolution Pale Ale
Fort Myers, FL
When people study the American Revolution they usually only focus on the 13 original colonies and not the 14th and 15th colonies, formerly known as East Florida and West Florida. East Florida included most of modern-day Florida and had St. Augustine as its capital, and West Florida included the panhandle as well as land reaching westward along the coast all the way to modern-day Louisiana, with Pensacola as its capital. Both Florida colonies were part of the 15 British colonies that were established in present-day America and also the only two colonies that did not declare independence from Great Britain.
For about 250 years, Florida was occupied by the Spanish but in 1763 the British took control. It was the British who split Florida into two colonies and it was the British to whom the colonies remained loyal during the American Revolution. Citizens of East and West Florida didn’t view the Revolutionary War as a war for independence but instead felt that a civil war had broken out between rebellious British citizens and the British monarchy. Residents of the Florida colonies even hung and burned effigies of American leaders like Samuel Adams and John Hancock. Even after the war ended and America gained its independence, both colonies declined an invitation to join the newly formed Continental Congress.
At the start of the Revolutionary War, England actually had about 33 colonies to protect. Their American colonies were located as far north as Nova Scotia and as far south as Granada in the Caribbean, and the majority of the British military was located in the Caribbean in order to defend their many sugar plantations, sugar being one of the most important trade items at the time. Many attacks against the Continental Army were initiated from St. Augustine and Pensacola, and there were even a few battles on Florida soil. George Washington ordered five separate invasions of East Florida between 1776 and 1780 including the Battle of Thomas Creek, one of the most significant conflicts of the entire war. The battle began when Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Elbert led his troops into Florida in an attempt to capture St. Augustine but the American forces were repelled and suffered great losses, mostly at the hands of Native Americans who were fighting alongside the British.
Florida has always been an important strategic location and this status was especially bolstered during the era when worldwide trade was done with sailing ships. The British repeatedly attacked Florida while it was under Spanish rule and, after gaining control of the territory, it became one of the most important locations in their continued attempt to colonize the New World. Florida sat directly in between the Caribbean, where about half of Britain’s colonies were found, and their other colonies to the north. When the 13 original colonies declared independence, it more-or-less split the British occupied territory in half.
But the Spanish hadn’t forgotten about Florida either. They attacked the coasts and regained control of West Florida in 1781 and then the British gave East Florida back to the Spaniards after the Revolutionary War ended in 1783. Around this time, many British loyalists left Las Floridas and sailed back to England or the West Indies. From their point of view, they were British citizens and their homeland (and for many, their birthplace) was now under the control of another government. The evacuation of many of Florida’s citizens left an opening for new residents, and many vagrants, convicts and runaway slaves flooded into the area.
In addition to its already established population of pirates and its new population of troublemakers, Florida also became home to many disgruntled Indians who began generating attacks against American settlements from Florida soil. For the Spaniards, who were thousands of miles away, the area became very difficult to manage and, in 1821, they agreed to cede Florida to the United States. This was also the year that Mexico achieved liberation from Spain.
Much of West Florida had already been acquired by the U.S. during the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and after Spain left the area, the rest of Florida was designated as an official American Territory. But distrust was still prevalent between the residents of the Florida Territory and the United States, and it would take another 24 years for Florida to become the 27th U.S. State, the same year as Texas (1845). For reference, Georgia, which shares a long border with Florida, became the 4th U.S. state 57 years earlier.
From the Brewer: Our English malted, American hopped pale ale is a delicious brew made for those summer afternoons at the beach, on the front porch, or really wherever the urge to overthrow an international superpower takes you. ABV 6.8%, IBU 45
Founder - Kyle Cebull