Our History

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers has been defiantly brewing small batches of beer in San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood since 1997. The brewery started with a single iconic beer, still made today, called Prohibition Ale. The hoppy amber beer embodies the spirit of bootleggers and gangsters who persevered when America’s taps ran dry.

The brewery quickly gained a loyal following with bold, complex beers, and striking 1920s imagery. In 1999, Big Daddy IPA was added to the lineup and became San Francisco’s best-selling IPA. The beer is still Speakeasy’s kingpin, representing 40% of the brewery’s sales, among a wide array of acclaimed beers, from session ales to bourbon barrel-aged imperial stouts.

During the early years, Speakeasy would open the brewery to family, friends, and beer lovers on legendary Friday nights. Fresh beer flowed from the cold box and live music filled the air. But as the brewery grew, the party space dwindled, and the Speakeasy Tap Room opened in 2013. It now serves thousands of thirsty followers, who can step back in time and relax with a beer, or dip into the medicine cabinet and grab a six-pack to go.  

The brewery’s humble beginnings delivering hand-filled kegs out of the back of a van are long gone. Speakeasy now works with more than twenty distributors across the West Coast and throughout the United States. The brewery’s original fifteen barrel brewing system was also replaced in 2015 during a major expansion, which included a sixty barrel brewhouse, centrifuge, malt handling system, canning line, and an additional 1,200 barrels of fermentation capacity.   

In 2017, the Speakeasy beer brands and brewing equipment were acquired by Hunters Point Brewery, a company founded by former beverage distributor, Ces Butner. Under new ownership Speakeasy Ales & Lagers will grow by leaps and bounds. The brewery’s trademark eyes, ubiquitous and cryptic, beckon you to join our mob, no password required.