Darwin Santa Maria Breaks from Brewery, Seeks New Challenges
Recently announcing his decision to leave behind the brewery that bears his name, Darwin Santa Maria has plenty of ideas to keep his creative juices flowing.
In fact, one might describe the Sarasota resident as positively giddy at the projects he’s currently involved with.
“I’m saddened my partnership with Matt and William Cornelius didn’t work out,” Santa Maria said, referencing his business ventures including Darwin’s on 4th restaurant and Darwin’s Brewing Co.
“I wish them well and I want them to succeed, but I have to succeed, too.”
According to the resignation statement he released, Santa Maria revealed, “I haven’t ruled out the possibility on (sic) starting a new brewery or brew pub.”
Later, he reflected on his future.
“I’m keeping myself busy,” he added. “There are legal matters still be resolved, but I have to move on. I’m determined to exploit my Amazonian roots to take craft beer to the next level in the USA.”
While expressing his desire to visit Ecuador, his recent trip to Peru with Charlie Papazian, the president of the Brewers Association.
“Charlie and I travelled through the jungles and along the shores of Peru,” Santa Maria explained, with a glint in his eye.
“We spent days on the road meeting local chefs and brewers, discovering indigenous plants and spices. My vision is to share all these funky ingredients. It’s all about collaboration between like-minded people, sharing Peruvian culture.”
It was obvious this commitment to “sharing” wasn’t working well following the unexpected closure of Darwin’s on 4th earlier this year and now resigning from the brewery.
Although relations with his former partners remain cordial, with Matt Cornelius going so far to say, “We (referring to the present ownership team) wouldn’t be here today without Darwin,” Santa Maria obviously agrees and is quick to point out that he alone created a “brand,” and he fully intends to exploit a reputation he says he has worked so hard to make his own.
“I have a great relationship with all my previous customers who I feel will always support me abd believe in my passion,” he says. I’ve created something different, but I’m not finished yet. There’s still so much to learn about craft beer and cuisine. I certainly don’t know everything. It’s a constant learning experience.
“That’s what makes my life so fun – the constant discovery.”
Although some newspaper reports have referenced a desire to move abroad to further his career, Santa Maria is a firm believer in the uniqueness of Sarasota and has no immediate plans to permanently leave the city that allowed him to realize his dreams.
“People ask me all the time if I’m opening a new restaurant. I honestly don’t know is the answer,” he explained. “I’d love to open another restaurant in Sarasota. The community has given me a lot and I consider myself very lucky to live here.”