May 28, 2014, 9:52pm PDT Updated: May 28, 2014, 10:05pm PDT
21st Amendment founders Shaun O’Sullivan (left) and Nico Freccia (right) join San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy (center) in the kickoff ceremony for 21st Amendment’s new facility.
San Francisco’s 21 st Amendment Brewery kicked off the development of its $21 million showpiece production brewery, tasting room and restaurant in San Leandro on Wednesday with a “groundbreaking” reception, starting a buildout process that will bring more than a hundred jobs to the area and help the East Bay city in its quest to be a craft beer destination.
The 95,000 square-foot facility — formerly Kellogg Cereal factory — on Williams Street was buzzing with activity as 21 st Amendment owners Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan gathered with city leaders to celebrate the development of the facility, which will open in phases starting this fall.
Phase one of the opening will launch the production area for 21 st Amendment, so that the company can move its brewing process from Minnesota back to the Bay Area. Having started as a 12-barrel brewery and pub in San Francisco in 2000, the beer makers — known for brews such as South Park Blonde and Hell or High Watermelon Wheat — grew beyond their capacity there and then moved most of the production to Minnesota in 2008. However, the company has outgrown even that space, which has a capacity of about 60,000 brew barrels.
Now, 21 st Amendment, which had $15 million in 2013 sales, will be able to come home and brew more beer. The San Leandro space will have an initial brewing capacity of 100,000 brew barrels with plenty of room to grow — likely to 300,000 barrels, said newly appointed president David Wilson — putting it among the largest breweries in the Bay Area.
Meanwhile, a tasting room and restaurant are set to open next year, and a beer garden, several event spaces, and offices will go into the facility, which was designed by Aidlin Darling Design. Visitors will be able to do self-guided tours throughout the whole facility, seeing every part of the brewing process, said co-founder and COO Nico Freccia. ( Read more in a 2013 interview with Freccia here.)
Annie Sciacca is an editorial intern at the San Francisco Business Times.