California Brewery expansions and upcoming new brewpubs

The Beer Buzz

Existing Brewery Expansions and New Brewpubs in the Works

(expansion of a shorter article I posted to

Focus on Northern California

Sierra Nevada is the largest and most successful, and IMO, the BEST microbrewer of its size (75K - 500K barrels/yr.) SN always will and always have been privately owned. Currently the plans for expansion are underway. This way even Bay Area beer lovers may get some Bigfoot again without having to drive to Chico. Bigfoot hasn't been on our shelves since March of 1995.

Anderson Valley is opening up a new brewery about 2 miles south of their current location. They'll continue to brew all the brewpub's beer in their current location but all off-site sales in kegs and bottles (and 12 oz. bottles too!) will be done at their new brewery on the corner of hwys 128 & 253. AV is still completely private.

My guess is to look for both AV & SN expansions to come on-line and on-yer-shelves and beer bars by early 1997. Both of these stellar microbreweries want to expand across the USA in bigger and better numbers without sacrificing quality one iota.

Triple Rock, a Berkeley brewpub, is reportedly expanding its formerly small brewing capacity which limited its on-tap selection to often times just 2 or 3 beers. (I've heard rumors that they hope for 10 beers on tap at once, good luck 3Rock!. According to their ad in the Celebrator Beer News this has to do with "10 years and 10 beers."

Pyramid (Hart Brewing Co. from Washington) is expanding to a brewpub slated to open (when??) in Berkeley cutely named the Pyramid Ale Brewing Co. Yeah! Also, Barbary Coast Brewing Co. is in the works in "Berserkley."

Golden Pacific Brewing Company is expanding big time. While there are no plans for a brewpub they will have a tasting room located on the roof! But I'm wondering, are they going to produce some fizzy Calcium enriched gimmic beer?

San Francisco is looking at about five new brewpubs to open in the next 1-3 years (some of this has to do with the new baseball park for the SF Giants being built in China Basin, opening in 1999, which ought to attract real beer lovers). One of these new pubs is called Beach Chalet Brewing Co. and another is named Thirsty Bear Brewing Co. Beach Chalet is down by the Cliff House, slated to open late this year if all goes well. Teri Fahrendorf announced a Steelhead Brewery to be built at Fisherman's Wharf; look for it to open late 1997. Steelhead's first venture in the Bay Area was Burlingame Station which opened last year, fine brews there!

In April, Matt Petrik reported that a Liquid Assets brewing system was installed in the Inner Sunset area of the City. Could this be Beach Chalet?

Matt's own brewing project and working brewery, Brewery Atlantis, is looking to open up a brewpub in the City next year, perhaps March 1997. So there, I've mentioned four of the next five new breweries/brewpubs in San Francisco.

Sonoma is looking at the Benziger Family Winery to open a brewpub in the heart of Sonoma Valley wine country. Very cool. This makes Dick Arrowood, of the super-premium Arrowood Winery, very happy -- left turn lanes mean big bucks in wine country for official tasting rooms. Benziger pays for a left turn lane on the Sonoma Hwy and everyone's happy. A working name for the brewpub is Valley of the Moon Brewing (which is what "Sonoma" means in the original local Indian language).

Not to be left out or outdone by Sonoma, The San Francisco Business Times says Pete's Brewing is building their 30 million (dollar?) brewery in Napa.

Pleasanton has been really busy lately. Two new openings there include HopTown Brewing Company, a microbrewery brought to you with pleasure by Mark Garetz. Next door you can sample this beer at the HopYard Alehouse & Grill which has more than 30 real beers on tap. (I love the place) Pleasanton Main Street Brewing is the newest Bay Area brewpub to open since March. Brewmaster and owner is Matt Billings.

Am i missing anything for the northern half of the state? Such as a rumor of Sunnyvale's Faultline adding a new location at Walnut Creek? Or, even worse, are they replacing Black Diamond with Faultline?

Gordon Biersch has remodeled their brewpub on Emerson in Palo Alto. Also, Gordon Biersch is building a new large capacity brewery in San Jose slated to become operational by the end of the year. They will be bottling.

And last and certainly not least, Hoppy Brewing Company (formerly T.ROY) is looking to open up a brewpub in San Jose's Willow Glen neighborhood sometime next year. Let's hope that Troy Paski can throw a party for 'us' at the new pub in 1997! ;-)

Please email me with your very own Brew Rumors, opening announcements, news or corrections.

Ken Papai (kjp) 6/28/96
Updated June 29

NEXT: Goto Sept-1996 BEER BUZZ Column

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