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A woman holds up a beer to cheers in the direction of the camera lens

Jen Whyte – Crafted With Love in Fort Myers

As the co-founders and operators of Fort Myers Brewing Co., Jen Whyte and her husband, Rob, have established deep connections in the area. When it opened in 2013, Fort Myers Brewing Co. was the first craft brewery in Southwest Florida, and it paved the way for the region’s booming beer scene.

It wasn’t just the desire to make beer that motivated the couple to move from California to Fort Myers. “We wanted to live where we vacationed!” Whyte says.

They also opened the business to make more local friends, which has been a resounding success. “We bring people together over beer. We’ve seen people get engaged; we’ve hosted weddings. It’s just a great place to have a beer and make new friends.”

The two work in the Gateway area of Fort Myers, which puts them in close reach of the airport and JetBlue Park. When they’re out and about, “We love Fine Folk Pizza and Norman Love ConfectionsThere’s nothing better than beer, pizza and chocolate!”

Beyond craft beer and the local cuisine, they’re also appreciative of all the outdoor recreation that surrounds them. “When we moved to Southwest Florida, one of the first things we did was head out to the Everglades. But what we’ve learned from living here is that we have our own nature preserves right here in town. We love wandering through the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve — it’s an awesome place to be part of nature.”

While Whyte welcomes visitors, she also encourages those who are considering a big move to the area: “If you’re looking for a sense of community, Fort Myers is the place to be. It’s the absolute best place to live, to play and to own a business.”