New Film Explores San Francisco Brewing History

We’re living in a golden age of beer. Bars and stores are filled with a dizzying array of high quality choices produced by a growing number of breweries. The Bay Area helped lay the foundation and is blessed with a rich brewing tradition. In 1849, the Adam Schuppert Brewery started serving thirsty patrons in San Francisco. Since then, over 100 breweries have come and gone on the tip of the peninsula. In a new film directed by Jared Stutts, that glorious past will merge with the present in Brewers by the Bay.

According to Stutts, “The film is a cinematic tale of the past, present and future of San Francisco brewing, told by the owners and brewmasters themselves. It was written by Mike Pitsker, the Associated Editor of Celebrator Magazine, and is hosted by Brenden Dobel, the Brewmaster at ThirstyBear Brewing.”

The film is still in production and Stutts has launched an Indiegogo campaign to help defray the costs. Visit the page, check out the trailer and consider sparing a few bucks for a few tempting perks.

Stutts recently answered a few questions about the project over email.

Why did you choose to make a movie about the history of San Francisco brewing?

I chose to make a film on the history of beer in San Francisco because what a lot of people do not know is that the history of this wonderfully crafted product dates back to 1847 and that the first brewery that was established in California happened to be in San Francisco! There is also this common myth that beer is boring. This movie will introduce you to the brewers and you will get the chance to hear their personal stories. This is not a technical overview of how brewing is made so the demographic for this film is very wide!

What do you think sets San Francisco and the Bay Area brewing scene in general apart from the rest of the industry?

One of the greatest things that sets San Francisco apart from the rest of the industry is their collaborative spirit. Being that the nine active breweries have a guild also celebrates their success. I think the rest of the Bay Area is paying attention and will follow in their footsteps!

Have you made any surprising discoveries about the brewers or breweries you’ve been documenting?

You bet! However you will have to wait to see the film, though I can tell you that each brewer has shared their unique stories both personal and professional. Check out our Indiegogo campaign for exclusive behind the scenes clips of the brewers and owners talking about the Brewers by the Bay project, the San Francisco beer scene, and the importance of history and preservation.

What do you hope people take away from the film?

That San Francisco is a fantastic beer city! I hope the viewers will learn the unknown history of beer in San Francisco, the multitude of breweries contained in this small and diverse city, the passionate brewers who love their craft, and the complexity and innovation of the industry. My hope is that viewers will come to share this same passion, which the brewers, owners and craft beer enthusiasts feel for craft beer in the Bay Area.

Behind the Scenes Video Follows Kim Sturdavant Brewing at Social Kitchen

Videographer Mark Sandhoff has put together a wonderful film that follows Kim Sturdavant on a typical brew day at Social Kitchen. Kim recently filled the brewmaster position when Rich Higgins departed earlier this year. The video is more art house style, than 60 minutes profile, but gives the viewer a complete picture of the brewing process.

The music also happens to be delightful. It’s by Charles Iwegbue & His Archibogs, and the Apolos Empire Rhythm Orchestra. You can check it out here, but I highly suggest the larger viewing experience on Sandhoff’s Vimeo account. Enjoy.

Beltane Brewing Plans to Open Novato Brewery & Tasting Room this Summer

If you’ve been planning on taking a North Bay brewery tour later this year, you’ll soon have one more option to enjoy en route to Russian River. Alan Atha, brewer and owner of Beltane Brewing, has secured the necessary funding to make his production brewery and tasting room a reality. The facility will be located just off the 101 freeway in the Bel Marin Keys neighborhood of Novato.

You may remember our profile of Atha and his homebrewing exploits in August last year, which detailed an impending trip to Denver for the GABF Pro-Am Competition. He didn’t take home the big prize, but that clearly didn’t put a damper on his plans.

According to Atha, the necessary TTB and ABC paperwork will be filed soon, equipment is being purchased and renovations will be taking place over the coming months. The plan is for a grand opening in late summer, but he doesn’t want to make any exact predictions since the process could have some unexpected twists and turns (knock on wood).

There’s been a few bumps in the road already, but he hopes they’re behind him. Atha’s initial plans called for a cafe that would serve up cheese and charcuterie alongside the beer, but he couldn’t come to terms with the Marin County Health Department. Instead, local food options will be available that can be brought inside the future tasting room.

Atha is currently aiming to serve ten beers, which will include a few guest taps from breweries he admires. Kegs will also be available for wholesale clients and retail. In addition, future guests can expect growlers, while bottling remains a distant plan.

The project has been in the works for the last six months and he’s anxious to serve the throng of fans he’s acquired in the meantime. Atha said, “We know many of you have been eagerly awaiting our opening and we look forward to serving you!”


Alan Atha / Photo © Brian Stechschulte


Strike Brewing Signs Distribution Deal, IPA & Imperial Red Coming in May

Since they launched Strike Brewing back in December of 2011, co-owners Jenny Lewis and Drew Ehrlich have been doing the heavy lifting when it comes to delivering their beer to bars and stores. According to a press release delivered by Lewis, that will change beginning on April 13. They’ve signed an agreement with DBI to have their brew delivered throughout Santa Clara County, making it easier for fans to find their beer.

Lewis said, “We are truly pleased to be working with DBI.  DBI knows the craft beer business and has the portfolio to prove it.  Plus, their sales team is well versed in the growing enthusiasm for craft beer.”

The release also indicated that they’ll be unveiling an IPA and Imperial Red in 22 ounce bottles in mid-May. This expands their portfolio from the Blonde, Porter and Belgian-style Wit they launched with last year and contract brew at Hermitage Brewing in San Jose.

Lagunitas Brewing Announces Plan to Build Chicago Brewery

Lagunitas Brewing Logo

Tony Magee, owner of Lagunitas Brewing, is making a regular habit of announcing big plans for his brewery on Twitter. (Location map below)

Updated (4/11/12) Tony Magee shared some photos of the new space you can see below.

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Learn how the brewery started.

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