In June we had the opportunity to get a taste of the first beer made in 21st Amendment’s new San Leandro brewery, aptly named San Leandro Batch 0001, as well as get an early sneak-peek at the brewery’s new San Leandro facility. While that brew was certainly unique, it’s got nothing on what the brewery has in store for this weekend.
On Saturday, 21st Amendment is having an opening party for the new facility, where it plans to release a new beer called Toaster Pasty. It’s an India Red Ale that pays homage to Pop Tarts. Why? Because 21st Amendment’s new facility was once a Kellogg factory used to make the toaster pastry. The beer will be available at the opening party, and then in 19.2-ounce cans as a new seasonal offering.
Back in June, we had the opportunity to chat with 21st Amendment’s co-founder Nico Freccia about the brewery’s new San Leandro location and its plans for the future.
What are the plans for the San Leandro brewery beyond what you see right now?
Nico Freccia: Our original plan for this building: the entire front area is kitchen and dining room, with a giant glass clamshell door that opens up into a 6,000 square foot beer garden. So essentially the whole outdoor area is beer garden with a kids area, a grownups area, an outdoor kitchen possibly. This over here [the brewery space] will all be bar, with an amphitheater with bleachers that go all the way up to the second floor. A tasting pod where you can be right at the level of the brewhouse deck and look out on all the action, and a mezzanine that leads into the tasting room. Sort of self-guided loops where you can watch the entire process.
What’s the timeline for all that?
Nico Freccia: All that is probably a three year plan. When I say three years, we’ll start doing it little by little. We’ll add the mezzanine, we’ll add the tasting room… the whole skin of the building is going to be transformed to be a really inviting industrial space rather than a generic industrial space. Right now in the immediate future, we’re going to have the outdoor space open, maybe put a shipping container outside and kind of start expanding that. Then there’s the whole brewery phase too, which involves cellar expansion, additional tanks coming in. All that good stuff.
Why San Leandro?
Nico Freccia: My business partner Sean and I both live in the East Bay. We were looking around the Easy Bay. We looked in Berkeley down through this area down to Union City. It was important to us to be in the East Bay. I think at the end of the day, San Leandro, this part of town is an industrial part of town, there was a lot of manufacturing facilities. Not only did the building itself have the infrastructure—it had bones, had the water, had the sewer that we needed — so that saves a huge amount of money — —but the city really is the deal. They want to revitalize this part of the industrial area, and so it was that combination that made it the place to be. Frankly, the more we learned about San Leandro with the arts community, the tech community, and just all the things that are happening here, the more exciting it was.
How far are you distributing now?
Nico Freccia: About 50% of our distribution is West Coast, and the other 50 is East Coast. So were in 21 states now, East Coast and West Coast.
Is the new brewery going to let you distribute more places?
Nico Freccia: Yeah. In fact we just opened Chicago and we just opened Southern California. So we’re trying to feed that market from here and we’ll go from there.