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New Brewery Opens Up the Tap

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New Brewery Opens Up the Tap
Thursday, 18 June 2015 08:16
Shaun O’Sullivan, Nicco Freccia and their employees cheer as they cut the ribbon to open their 21st Amendment Brewery on Williams Street in the former Kellogg’s building.

By Jim Knowles • San Leandro Times

Nicco Freccia was working as a waiter when he was 25 and one day he walked into a hobby store and saw a box that said, “Home Brewing Kit.”

That did it. Freccia liked beer, so he thought: “You can make beer at home?” He started making beer, experimenting and the hobby eventually turned into a business.

Last Thursday, Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan cut the ribbon to open their new brewery, 21st Amendment Brewing, in the former Kellogg’s plant that they rebuilt on Williams Street in San Leandro.

The 21st Amendment Brewery – named after the amendment that repealed Prohibition – first opened as a brewpub in San Francisco where it brews a small amount of its beer. Most of their beer is being brewed in Minnesota. But now, the whole operation is moving to their new world headquarters and brewery in San Leandro.

Freccia and O’Sullivan say they want to revive the era before Prohibition when there were lots of breweries in every city making unique beers. And they’re doing that in San Leandro, joining two other breweries, Drake’s and Cleophus Quealy Beer Company.

Over the past year, huge stainless-steel brewing tanks were lowered into the building by crane. They installed a brewhouse that’s German engineered and made in the U.S.A. to produce 21st Amendment’s variety of beers, including experimental and seasonal brews.

The brewery brings that extra thing that San Leandro needs, said Mayor Pauline Cutter at the opening ceremony.

The state-of-the-art rotary canning machine can fill 500 cans a minute. Twenty-five workers are employed initially at the brewery, with a hundred workers planned in the future.

“There’re going to have a hundred people working here, and these are good paying jobs,” said San Leandro City Councilman Jim Prola who came to the ribbon cutting ceremony last week.

Starting next Friday, June 26, the brewery at 2010 Williams Street will open to the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with food trucks coming by from noon till 8 p.m.

They’re going to install a brewpub, called The Treehouse, that will look down at the brewing operation, so you can see the brewmaster making your beer as you drink it.

Freccia and O’Sullivan cut the ribbon with the Chamber of Commerce’s giant scissors and then they led groups on a tour of their brewery. O’Sullivan gave the walk-through with a can of 21st Amendment’s Brew Free or Die I.P.A. in hand and explained the whole process. Malt, water, hops and yeast are the four ingredients in beer, he said.

The modern equipment at the brewery is also water-efficient, O’Sullivan pointed out with the current drought in mind.

At the end of the tour, O’Sullivan and one of his beer makers filled a pitcher from a valve from one of the giant tanks. It’s called Batch No. 0001, the first beer made at the new San Leandro brewery and a fine beer.

The steel beams that were added in the building were installed by Olson Steel, which is just behind the brewery, in an adjoining property. Olson Steel is in the Westgate Center, in one of the buildings that was originally a Dodge manufacturing plant.

Olson installed the beams, columns and catwalks in the brewery. “Everything except the tanks,” said Robert Moretti, Olson’s chief estimator.

There’s a gate between the properties, so Olson just trucked the steel right over to the brewery’s back door.

A dozen years ago, Olson retrofitted their own building, and now they’ve done the same for 21st Amendment, said Dylan Olson, the company president.

“We’re all neighbors now and we’re trying to revitalize San Leandro,” Olson said.



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