Ben Davis is a Jacksonville native who has always felt a drive to give back to his hometown and help move our city forward. Ever the entrepreneur and small-business innovator, Davis’ first contribution to Jacksonville’s cultural landscape dates back to 1999, when he purchased a San Marco coffee shop, popular local hang-out, the Grotto. Anticipating market trends and capitalizing upon a growing demand,Davis saved the Grotto from almost certain demise by transforming it into the wine shop/wine bar concept it is today.
Fascinated by the wine business, Davis moved to the Napa Valley in 2001 to pursue training in winemaking and, in 2003, launched his own label, Tallulah, enjoying critical acclaim early on. At the time Davis could not have foreseen the direction his training in small business and in winemaking would take, but he always knew that his heart was rooted in Jacksonville.
In 2010, after selling his wine label and moving back home, Davis founded Intuition Ale Works, the ultimate combination of his passion for small business, community involvement and good, craft beer. Davis found that his skills as a winemaker translated well into the world of craft beer, where a well-trained palette serves him as much as a head for business. Since its opening in November of 2010, Intuition has become one of the most popular and fastest growing brands of craft beer in the area. Davis also made history as the first craft brewery in the state of Florida to can its most popular brews.
Giving back to the community is central to Intuition’s mission statement. Davis is a member of the Professional and Businessmen’s Association, and serves on the boards of the Memorial Park Association and the ARC of Jacksonville. He was recognized this year by the Jacksonville Business Journal as one of Northeast Florida's "40 Under 40" brightest, most promising young professionals and is also a member of the Leadership Jacksonville class of 2014. Intuition regularly donates to local charities and hosts their events and has forged fundraising partnerships with organizations like the Sulzbacher Center, Second Harvest Food Bank, Community Connections, Movember, and the St. Johns Riverkeeper.
Davis is an Eagle Scout from Troop 2 at St. John’s Presbyterian, a graduate of Episcopal High School and the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago. He currently resides in Avondale with his wife, Diana, and their sons, Roman and Troy.
But it turns out that selling other peoples’ products didn’t satisfy Ben’s creative side – so, he said a brief goodbye to spanish moss and humidity and headed West to Sonoma, CA to dip his toes into winemaking. After working crush in Napa and New Zealand, he started his own wine label and produced critically acclaimed wines until 2007, at which point, he realized it was time to come home. Home to family and friends, home to a city of sunlight and life, and home to a rapidly growing craft-beer market.
Ben began his search for the perfect brewery location, studied the business of brewing, attended a rigorous brewer’s certification program through the Siebel Institute in Chicago, and spent two and a half long years perfecting recipes in his garage on Edgewood Avenue. It’s been a long and winding road that’s brought Ben Davis to this place. You could say the whole time he was guided by a certain sixth sense: an “Intuition,” if you will. The years he spent in winemaking and the refined palate that resulted are reflected in the incredibly high standards to which he holds his brews.
But let’s face it. His raucous spirit and never-ending love of a good time are perfectly complimented by only one thing: Beer.