21st Amendment Brewing is Bringing it All Back Home

On occasion, I encounter people who are little bit confused about 21st Amendment Brewing. The company’s headquarters and its brewery/pub are in San Francisco, where it produces some of the beer. Most of the beer —the cans and the draft beer that is distributed— is brewed, under contract, at a brewery in Minnesota. That’s the short version of the story. And that’s all you really need to know, because it’s all changing. 21st Amendment is bringing all of its production home to the Bay Area.

The company recently announced that it is building a new brewery across the bay in San Leandro, just south of Oakland. The new facility will include a production brewery, tasting room, restaurant, and event space. The company expects the construction of the new 95,000 square-foot brewery to take nine months. They’ll start construction of the restaurant and event space next year (2015).

The new brewery will have an initial capacity to produce 100,000 barrels per year and the potential to scale-up to over 250,000 barrels per year. Plans call for the installation of 100-barrel, four-vessel brewhouse. The new canning line will be able to crank out upwards of 500 cans per minute.

A rendering of the new facility.


Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan opened 21st Amendment Brewing in San Francisco almost 14 years ago. “Both Nico and I have been brewing our craft beer at our pub in San Francisco and for almost 14 years and for the last six in Cold Spring, Minnesota where we produce all of our great canned and draft beer for distribution across this country,” said Shaun O’Sullivan. “All that is about to change as we are excited to announce the next part of this great adventure.”

“The reason for this move is two- fold,” explained O’Sullivan on the company’s website. “We are running out capacity at our partner brewery at Third Street Brewery in Cold Spring, Minnesota and the other is more emotional as, since we started this endeavor, Nico and I have always wanted to bring the beer back to our home in Northern California. We also haven’t been able to expand into other markets for a couple of years.”

The winter seasonal is my personal favorite.


O’Sullivan says that the new production brewery will allow them to expand distribution to include states where 21st Amendment beers are currently unavailable.

As with any new brewery, jobs are involved. 21st Amendment expects to generate 20 new jobs in the first year and another 100 jobs over the coming years.

“We have signed a lease for 95,000 square feet in San Leandro, California not too far from Oakland Airport at the former Kellogg plant where Eggo’s and Pop Tarts were once made,” said Sullivan. “ It’s an incredible building with lots of power and great water supply. The City of San Leandro is very excited to have us there as well. We are also carrying on great tradition in that city as Drakes Brewery is our neighbor and will make this area a destination for craft beer folks like you.”

“We have purchased a 40 head KHS filler with volumetric filling and can run upwards of 500 cans a minute. It’s really a marvelous piece of equipment. A packaging machine is where the tires hit the pavement in the beer world. You can make great beer, but if you can’t package it properly your beer will not fare well. We are really geeking out on the equipment and all the stainless (stainless steel is brewer’s porn) from fermentation tanks, to boilers, deaeration systems, to keg fillers and all the pumps and pipes. It’s a huge undertaking, but we have a great crew and the whole project is being designed by our architects and all around great people Aidlin Darling Design who are neighbors of our pub in South Park and the principle of the project David is a beer geek and loves IPA.”

21st Amendment Brewing hopes to be brewing at the new facility by the end of the year. The restaurant and all the rest will follow.

Read Shaun O’Sullivan’s announcement on the company’s website.


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