This Saturday marks the anniversary of what has been a huge milestone in the growth of our humble brewery. Four years ago on November 3rd, John Martin and Roy Kirkorian walked into the Drake’s Brewery as the new owners. There they found a 19-year-old boil kettle, thirteen 15 barrel fermenters, one driver, and two brewers who were putting out just under 1000 barrels per year of some of the best brews in the Bay Area.
It was the beer that drove them; both John and Roy knew the potential that Drake’s had with each taste of the beers. The small brewery just needed the extra push and investment to grow, and it certainly has.
In 2008, Drake’s was brewing 2-3 times per week and producing just under 1000 barrels (1 barrel= 31 gallons = 2 standard American kegs) of beer per year. Now, we are brewing 4-5 times per day, running a 24 hour daily schedule Sunday-Thursday, and aiming to brew approximately 13,000 barrels of beer by the end of 2012 (20,000 barrels for 2013).
The brewery has expanded to fill the entire 6,100 square foot space with three 80 barrel fermenters, seven 60 barrel fermenters, four 30 barrel fermenters, seven 20 barrel fermenters, six 15 barrel fermenters, a new 20 barrel boil kettle and brewdeck, and a brand new 16-head bottling line. The cold-storage, barrel-aging program, admin offices, and tasting room were moved into the building next to the brewery, and new storage space was acquired. Drake’s now inhabits 22,000 square feet in San Leandro. The only pieces of equipment that still live in their original spaces are the silo, mill, and mashtun.
In June 2011, we opened Drake’s Barrel House Retail Store and Taproom beside the barrels of aging beer where we have the ability to showcase up to 22 beers on tap including a rotating selection of our small batch barrel-aged beers.
With all the growing, the work load has increased to accomodate over 32 full and part time employees, all of whom have a deep and abiding love of great beer.
It’s been a thrilling 4 years for Drake’s, and we have no doubt as to what has made it possible for us. It’s the fans of the beer, our proponents in the streets looking for our beers on the shelves, talking us up to their local barkeep, and watching out for our latest releases. So, to give back to your guys on Saturday, come by the Barrel House for “one on John and Roy.” A free 4oz taster of your choice and a free glass of our latest seasonal Exxpedition Imperial Red Ale on cask (while the cask lasts). Cheers to many more years, and many many more beers!
Click on the pics below for larger views of our changes over the past 4 years.