Bottling an ‘Island State of Mind’


From left: Whitney Trentine, Chris Trentine, Nik Schroth and Tyrone Bradley, owners of Islamorada Beverages

Florida Atlantic: Bottling an ‘Island State of Mind’

FAU Alumni Co-found One of South Florida’s Leading Brewery and Distillery Companies

A shared love of sun, sand, fishing and good beer. While it sounds like the theme to a Jimmy Buffett or Kenny Chesney song, it’s also what led a trio of FAU alumni to brew up the idea for Islamorada Beverages.

The Islamorada Beer Company, its original name, was born during weekend fishing trips to the Keys in the mid-2000s. Conversations about needing a lighter craft beer to complement their tropical “fun-in-the-sun” lifestyle turned FAU college friends Tyrone Bradley ’08, ’13, Chris Trentine ’05 and Whitney Trentine ’07, along with their friend, Nik Schroth, into business partners.

Fast forward less than a decade later, and this crafty idea has turned into a successful brewery and distillery company, where an Island State of Mind™ can be found in a bottle – or a can – across Florida.

“We started this company as a part of what we already did: hanging out and going to charity events, football games, and the sandbar on the weekends,” said Chris Trentine, an Islamorada native. “It all came to fruition from our lifestyles, and the brand is now part of our lifestyle.”

The group opened its first location, a tasting room, in 2014 in Islamorada at Mile Marker 82 with its flagship beer, Sandbar Sunday, an American wheat ale named for the popular sandbar gatherings of boaters off Islamorada Key. Two other island-themed flavors were added to the menu: Islamorada Ale, an island citrus ale, and Channel Marker IPA, an India pale ale. Within a year, the brewery was designated the No. 9 top place to visit in Islamorada by TripAdvisor, where today it remains a “Travelers’ Choice” and is currently ranked No. 3 for top attractions on the popular travel website.

A second site opened in 2016 in Fort Pierce. It not only had a tasting room, but also a full production facility with brewing capacity for 75,000 barrels — or nearly 1 million beers per year — making it the largest craft brewery on the Treasure Coast.

After creating 10 additional beers and achieving success in this space, the company took things one step further and ventured into distilling and producing spirits. Islamorada rum, vodka and gin were soon earning national recognition and awards. The company also launched Crooked Palm Distillery to include canned cocktails and non-alcoholic keg cocktails on draft.

Today the company has grown from three employees to more than 100, with 3,500 distribution points across Florida and a third brewery and distillery under construction.

The three alumni credit their educational and student-life experiences at Florida Atlantic with the incredible success of their growing businesses. As undergraduates, they each gained invaluable knowledge through the classes they shared in the College of Business.

Bradley’s business acumen, along with his B.B.A. and MBA degrees from FAU, have been instrumental in his ability to guide the overall strategy and direction of the company as its CEO.

As the owner of a construction company, Chris Trentine’s business background and experience have been a huge part in the successful planning and execution of the building of the Islamorada Beverages’ facilities.

Whitney Trentine, who oversees the South operations, is affectionately deemed as “the glue” by her co-founders. While pursuing her bachelor’s degree in business at FAU, she held internships in the President’s Office and at the Eleanor R. Baldwin House, which she said taught her valuable life lessons.

Their relationships also were strengthened through their dedicated involvement in FAU’s Greek organizations. The Trentines met through Greek life – he was president of Alpha Tau Omega, while she was president of Alpha Xi Delta. The two married in 2012. Bradley served as vice president of finance for his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon.

“Greek life was one of those critical parts of all our lives because it got us together,” Bradley said. “The Greek system helps build a community and friendship and teaches you a lot of values.”

The co-founders also are passionate about philanthropy. They support the Florida Keys community through charity fishing tournaments, donate at events for local schools, and give assistance and relief during hurricanes; they also give back to their alma mater.

Islamorada Beverages regularly provides drinks for FAU Alumni Association athletic tailgates and events, and in 2015, they established the Gotta Luv Them Alumni Scholarship Endowment Fund from their nonprofit, Gotta Luv Them, Inc. The fund awards scholarships to students active in social or academic Greek life at FAU.

“We just wanted to be able to give back to students in an area that brought all of us together,” Whitney Trentine said. “Hopefully they cultivate the same relationships.”

The Islamorada team’s philanthropy and innovation merged once more in 2021 on the heels of the NCAA’s decision to allow college athletes to accept Name, Image and Likeness sponsorships and deals. The company made history with the signing of then-FAU quarterback N’Kosi Perry as the first college athlete sponsored by an alcohol company.

“Signing Perry was another one of those innovative things that we were trying to do right,” Bradley said. “Traditionally, we don’t really spend a lot of money on paid marketing. We try to do grassroots type of marketing to portray the ‘island state of mind.’ Twitter went crazy. It was the highest reach we’ve ever had as a company, and it wasn’t just in the U.S. — it went global. It was a great partnership.”

When asked what they’re most proud of, the group agreed that the growth of the company, their positive impact on employees, providing good memories for customers, and most importantly, how their friendships forged at FAU continue to endure, were top of the list.

“Partnerships can seem very hard, but for us it’s very easy,” Bradley said. “We see what others need, and we try to get involved and help each other. We have worked very well together in all the times we’ve been partners. At the end of the day, we put our friendship first.”

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N’Kosi Perry

FAU quarterback N’Kosi Perry. Islamorada Beverages was among the first alcohol companies to sign a college athlete for a Name, Image and Likeness deal.