Our History

In a typically foggy San Francisco summer in 1997, Forest Gray and his cadre of bootleggers were inspired to bring their unique and exceptional beers from the underground to the masses.

Defiantly producing small batches of beer in a secret warehouse in San Francisco’s long forgotten Butchertown District, Speakeasy quickly gained a loyal following with bold, complex beers and striking 1920s imagery.

From the brewery’s humble beginnings delivering hand-filled kegs out of the back of a van, the company now boasts more than 30 distributors across the West Coast and major metropolitan markets across the country.

Starting with a single, iconic beer that immortalized the spirit of those who persevered when America’s taps ran dry – a bold, hoppy amber ale known as Prohibition Ale – Speakeasy now brews a wide array of acclaimed beers from sessionable pale ales to bourbon barrel-aged imperial stouts.

Big Daddy IPA, which would become Speakeasy’s kingpin and San Francisco’s best-selling IPA, fully realized the brewery’s passion for intense, in-your-face flavors that were still balanced and approachable.

2011 ushered in a new era in the brewery’s history–with the launch of many exciting new beers, the opening of The Speakeasy Tap Room, a stunning package redesign and a major facilities expansion, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers is poised to elevate the brand to national awareness.

In 2015, a new 60 barrel brewhouse, malt handling system, fermentors, centrifuge, and canning line were installed. Production capacity increased to 90,000 barrels per year and Speakeasy launched The Session Series, which features their beer in a can for the first time. The new beers are easy drinking, flavorful, and lower in alcohol at 4.7% ABV. The first release was Baby Daddy IPA, followed by Suds Session Ale.

From only four employees at the start to over 40 now, Speakeasy has grown by leaps and bounds. The brewery’s trademark eyes–ubiquitous and cryptic–beckon you to join the Speakeasy revolution: no password required.

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