The packaging may clearly say “Shhhhhh”, but San Francisco’s Speakeasy Brewery is making a lot of noise these days.
Since moving to San Francisco two years ago, we immediately fell in love with the iconic SF brewery—Speakeasy. It embodies everything that this city is about—deep history, mystery, intrigue and of course, fantastic West Coast characteristics infused in all of its brews.
As with many modern breweries, Speakeasy is thriving from the craft beer revolution. In fact, the brewery is up nearly 20% in revenue and distribution since this time last year. However, much of this growth can be attributed to some very calculated moves they have made in their overall business strategy rather than simply relying on the shift in consumer demand.
Specifically, Speakeasy has refocused its efforts in creating high-end, specialty brews tailored to the ever-growing and evolved palates of craft beer enthusiasts. These 22 oz. craft beers are all branded under Speakeasy’s Bootlegger Limited Series. These brews, all named with a nod to the Prohibition Era, are often inspired by local flavors. For instance, the Ritual Coffee Payback Porter is made with coffee beans from San Francisco’s popular Ritual Roasters coffee. In addition, in early 2012, Speakeasy will release a Chocolate Milk Stout, made with TCHOchocolate nibs—a high-end San Francisco chocolate maker located at Pier 17 in the heart of the city.
While Speakeasy is excited about its Bootlegger Limited series, the team is relentless about quality assurance and consistency with its flagship products and biggest sellers—Big Daddy IPA and Prohibition Ale. In fact, to ensure even more quality control, the brewery has somewhat limited its distribution to far-away markets. As Brandon Borgel, Director of Sales and Marketing, states, “We can barely keep up with the growing demand right here in California.” This allows Speakeasy to better manage quality when the beer is distributed and served within its backyard, rather than dealing with the added factors when beer is shipped cross-country.
Another example of its unwavering commitment to quality is that the team at Speakeasy listens and reacts quickly to customers, both distributors and accounts. Recently on Twitter, a consumer complained that their Big Daddy IPA didn’t taste quite right at a local bar. Within 20 minutes, a Speakeasy rep was at the bar and discovered that the establishment’s lines were not clean. The problem was resolved and the consumer and bar were amazed at how quickly Speakeasy responded to the issue.
In recent months, Speakeasy has also amped up the volume when it comes to events—both around town and at the brewery. The brewery, located just south of the city in Hunters Point, could be considered by some as a concert venue these days due to the number of local musical acts they’ve hosted recently. From metal to blues to R&B, the brewery has played host to many local, up-and-coming acts with free shows. In fact, the events have been so wildly successful that the brewery has decided to host parties each and every Saturday from 1-6. Previously, the brewery was only open on Fridays from 4-9.
I wouldn’t bet on big acts booking Speakeasy as a venue just yet, though Borgel has bold ambitions and would love to attract acts like Buckethead and La Plebe soon. In the meantime, the brewery is expanding and making significant changes to their infrastructure to further accommodate the large crowds and musical acts. In the coming months, Speakeasy will open an official tasting room and retail area as well as expand to the other side of the warehouse, which will feature a stage.
Musicians interested in playing at Speakeasy Brewery may contact Brandon Borgel for more information.
Kristina is a digital and social media marketer who believes life and beer should be full of hops and monkeying around. Andy works as a video game marketer during the day, drinks hoppy beer at night and is an avid music fan always. Kristina is just 7 weeks away from drinking her first beer in 9 months they are both looking forward to welcoming their first child (a girl!) due 11/11/11.