MAGNOLIA BREWING COMPANY began in 1997 as a neighborhood brewpub in San Francisco’s fabled Haight Ashbury District on the eastern edge of Golden Gate Park. The story begins in the late 80s with Founder/Brewmaster, Dave McLean, discovering a love for the delicious and diverse new beers of the emerging craft brewing industry. He turned that love into an obsessive homebrewing hobby upon landing in the Haight in 1991. Those first beers were brewed in a one-bedroom apartment six blocks from the future home of Magnolia Pub & Brewery and rapidly turned into a calling that would not be ignored.
The original brewpub set out from day one to marry the hospitality and community of the great pubs of England with a quirky, artisan brewery shoe-horned into a tiny basement. Added to that was a love for the eccentricity, free thought, independence and creative expression birthed in the Haight decades earlier and a passion for making the food taste every bit as good as the beer.
The award-winning little brewery, seven barrels in size but short and squat to contend with the low basement ceilings, is still going strong almost 2500 batches later. The restaurant, a celebrated gastropub, continues to explore the best of local and seasonal sourcing within the Bay Area’s amazing foodshed while becoming an SF institution.
Magnolia began to outgrow its tiny brewery several years ago and the search began for a second brewing location somewhere in San Francisco. That place turned out to be the historic Dogpatch, a waterfront sliver of land once the industrial heart of San Francisco. Magnolia’s new 30-barrel brewery opened there in 2013 followed by Smokestack, its new BBQ restaurant meets beer hall meets whiskey bar in 2014.
Today. both locations are key parts of the San Francisco craft beer community and Magnolia beer is distributed throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area as well as Portland and Los Angeles. The latest chapter of Magnolia’s long, strange trip is its release of beer in cans, beginning with Kalifornia Kölsch and Proving Ground IPA, two classics that we’ve been brewing for nearly two decades.
We think there’s a little bit of magic in the ancient craft of beer making and we pull out all the stops to honor and live up to our amazing food and drink culture while expressing ourselves through beer.