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. Founder Dave McLean turned his love of home brewing traditional English ales into a lineup of true-to-style offerings served both on draft and through five bar-top-mounted traditional beer engines.
The original brewery set out to marry the hospitality and community of the great pubs of England with the eccentricity, free thought, independence and creative expression birthed in the Haight decades earlier. Magnolia’s creative passion wasn’t just about the beer—its food as well riffed on tradition and quality ingredients and fostered a strong neighborhood culture. Over the past 21 years both its food and its beer have re-revolutionized along with the Bay Area beer and food scenes, leading the way with innovative and creative menu offerings and beers crafted from unexpected ingredients.
In 2013 Magnolia’s second brewery opened in the Dogpatch neighborhood with a 30-barrel brewery, which enabled it to expand its distribution footprint throughout the Bay Area and beyond. The next year Smokestack opened adjacent to the Dogpatch brewery. In 2017 it began offering the flagship brands Proving Ground IPA and Kalifornia Kolsch in cans.
Also in 2017 Magnolia’s ownership evolved, with a new partnership team of Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing, and former Elysian Brewing Head Brewer and Co-founder Dick Cantwell. Plans were put in place and actions taken to reconceive and remodel the restaurant and to develop a large event space next door, which eventually would also house wooden foeders for aging sour beers, as well as a coolship for enacting spontaneous fermentations.
One of Magnolia’s mottoes has always been “Taking it Further,” embodying the spirit of a never-ending search—for the best of the old, the invention of the new, and the expansion of expectation.