With the words “Let’s turn some dirt,” a group of city officials and executives of San Francisco brewers 21st Amendment broke ground last week on a 95,000-square-foot new facility in a former Kellogg’s factory in San Leandro.
When completed, the new facility will be one of the largest craft brewing operations in the state, and will at first bring 20 new jobs to the city, and then, by phase two, more than 100 new jobs.
21st Amendment — known for such products as Hell or Highwatermelon Wheat and Back in Black IPA — began operating in San Francisco in 2000. Its facility and restaurant near the ballpark is a fixture of that neighborhood, and that’s also where new beers are created and tested. Once ready for a larger market, they are brewed and canned at their facility in Cold Spring, Minnesota. While the Minnesota facility has capacity for 60,000 barrels, and they have no plans to shut it down, the San Leandro facility will start with 100,000 barrels with room for further expansion.
The facility will have a state-of-the-art canning operation, which can fill 500 cans a minute. Their beer is already carried in 15 states.
“We’re about to embark on a great adventure,” said Shaun O’Sullivan, co-founder of 21st Amendment. “This will be a showcase brewery. Stainless steel is porn for brewers, and we’ll have a lot of porn here.”
Porn which visitors will be able to see for themselves in a self-guided tour.
General contractors Rudolph and Sletten will be working through summer and fall with the goal of beer being made in phase one of the development by the end of this year.
At the top of their agenda is making a beer to honor the former employees of Kellogg’s, who worked in that very space on Williams St.
“That will be the first new beer we release in a brand new package,” said Nico Freccia, 21st Amendment’s co-owner. “It will pay homage to the Kellogg’s factory and all the people who worked here.”
(Both PopTarts and Corn Flakes were made in the factory, which could lead to some interesting beer flavors….S’mores or Cinnamon Sugar ale anyone?)
Phase one will also include a tasting room and retail space. By year two, the owners intend to open a restaurant/pub, beer garden, an event space and meeting rooms.
Together with Drake’s Brewing Company which is already in San Leandro, and Cleophus Quealy Beer Company which is opening in 2014, the addition of 21st Amendment will make the East Bay city a major destination for beer lovers.
San Leandro mayor Stephen Cassidy said last week that a renaissance was taking place in his city; a new Kaiser hospital is opening near the BART station in few weeks, bringing more than 2,500 jobs to the city, and development is moving forward in other sites that have been empty for years.
“These folks at Kaiser are people who will want to have a beer at the end of the workday,” he said. “21st Amendment is integral to this renaissance, and are [they are] taking San Leandro up a notch of being on the radar of folks around the Bay Area.”
Freccia recalled their humble beginnings as “a couple of starry-eyed, passionate beer guys, who opened a pub in 2000 and just wanted to keep the doors open.” He continued, “It’s exciting to bring it back to the Bay Area where it all started.”
Added O’Sullivan: “If you were to tell us 14 years ago that we’d be standing here in front of you now, after starting our pub in San Francisco, we’d think you drank too much of our beer.”
He concluded, “San Leandro will be a premier destination spot for craft beer. As a brewmaster building something this large, this is a dream come true.”
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