Thank you to everyone who joined us for Sharktoberfest in January 2023. 

A toast-worthy inaugural event

After a long-awaited postponement due to Hurricane Ian in October 2022, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium’s inaugural Sharktoberfest event went off without a hitch Saturday, Jan. 14. 

Guests age 21 and older experienced Mote Aquarium as never before, savoring a highly anticipated lineup of craft beers, delicious food, live music and other festive delights.

Doors opened at 6 p.m. for the VIP Tasting event, where over 80 guests enjoyed six selections from local brewers Big Top Brewing Company, Coppertail Brewing Company and Green Bench Brewing Company, along with a curated menu of light bites provided by Tralia Italian Restaurant in Sarasota. The VIP Tasting event was set against a beautiful waterfront backdrop in the New Pass room of the Mote's Keating Marine Education Center on City Island, Sarasota.

The main event was held from 7–10 p.m. in Mote Aquarium’s courtyard. Guests received a commemorative tasting glass and lanyard koozie to enjoy samples from 19 local and regional breweries that provided their staple selections alongside unique, seasonal brews. Participating breweries included:

3 Daughters Brewing
Big Storm Brewery
Big Top Brewing Company
Blue Point Brewing Company
Coppertail Brewing Company
Elysian Brewing
Florida Keys Brewing Co
Funky Buddha Brewery
Goose Island Beer Co.
Green Bench Brewing Company
Islamorada Brewery & Distillery
Kona Brewing Co.
Motorworks Brewing
Ringside Brewing Company
Shipyard Brewing and Sea Dog Brewing
Sun King Brewery
SweetWater Brewing Company

“Sharktoberfest has provided Mote with the opportunity to collaborate with some awesome breweries and partners,” said Associate Vice President for Mote Aquarium, Evan Barniskis. “We are so excited to host an event that brings our community together to experience so many fantastic vendors and learn about marine science and conservation.”

Live entertainment was provided by the Sarasota band Kettle of Fish along with DeLeon Entertainment who provided an accordionist to greet guests during entry. Food stations were spread throughout the courtyard, prepared by Tralia, Pier 22, Southern Smoked by JP’s, Thomas German Bakery and Mote’s own Deep Sea Diner with food available for purchase. Special experiences and learning opportunities were provided by Mote’s Education department. 

Tickets were for sale at the chance drawing for prizes that included a Mote Membership, a basket from First Watch and more. Merchandise and craft vendors available for purchase by Gulf Coast Custom Designs, Openwater Relics, The Wooden Fence, Fin Pin Shop and the Mote Gift Shop, which remained open for the event. Mote logo gift bags filled with goodies, giveaways and coupons were given to guests as they departed. 

“Here at Mote, we have been waiting a long time for this event,” said Membership Manager, Elizabeth Kohl. “To have such a tremendous turnout means so much to us and guarantees a long future for this exciting new event!”

Sharktoberfest was made possible by the generous sponsorship of Kona Brewing Company, Blue Water Insurance Group, Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, Complete Weddings & Events, Cruisin’ Tikis Sarasota, Art Ovation Hotel, 99 Bottles Taproom & Bottle Shop and Public Employees Federal Credit Union. 

Participating breweries, 2022

VIP Tasting Event, 2022

Presented by 99 Bottles Taproom & Bottle Shop



Sharktoberfest 2022 was sponsored by Goose Island Beer Co., Blue Water Insurance Group,Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, Complete Weddings & Events and Cruisin’ Tikis Sarasota and Publix Employees Federal Credit Union. To sponsor the next Sharktoberfest, please contact Andria Piekarz at or 941-388-4441 ext. 352.



Food Vendors

More to be announced!

Merchandise Vendors, 2022 

Craft beer infused pickled goods. Made with Florida craft beers, Florida produce & sold in shelf stable jars that cross market the breweries. All natural, no additives, no preservatives, no chemicals.

Customized one-of-a-kind gifts for birthdays, weddings, realtors, and businesses. Resin & Wood Custom Art, Custom Engraved Gifts, Epoxy River Cutting Boards & Tables.

Shark tooth jewelry created by Valerie Hagan, Mote Marine Laboratory Staff Biologist who focuses on Sharks & Rays Conservation Research.

The Wooden Fence

Handmade earrings made of genuine leather, vegan leather or wood in many different styles. 

Fin Pin Shop is run by two women who share with the world our combined passion for marine life through ocean-themed products. The shop features enamel pins, stickers, hats and mall bags with ocean themes.

The Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium Gift Shop









Entertainment, 2022

Kettle of Fish—Band in Aquarium Courtyard

DeLeon Entertainment—Accordionist at Aquarium Entry

Akiko Graphics—Face Painting

Photo Booth—Donated by Complete Weddings & Events