Speakeasy Ales sold, remains in San Francisco

Hunters Point Brewery has purchased San Francisco’s Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, both the company’s brewing equipment and the brands. Hunter Point is a new company founded by Ces Butner, former owner of Horizon Beverage Company in Oakland.

“I worked with Speakeasy Ales & Lagers for five to six years as a distributor,” said Butner. “We were one the first companies to expand their distribution beyond San Francisco. There was a tremendous amount of growth and interest in the Speakeasy brands. It was one of the best craft breweries we worked with and the beer quality is very high. I thought it would be a shame if the brand, and one of the few production breweries left in San Francisco, disappeared because of financial problems. Keeping Speakeasy’s San Francisco born and brewed tradition alive is very important to me.”

The brewery began in San Francisco in 1997, opened a taproom in 2011, and underwent a major upgrade in 2015 with the addition of a new 60-barrel brewhouse, malt handling system, fermentors, canning line, and more. The $7.5 million expansion lifted capacity from 15,000 barrels to 90,000 barrels, and the brewery reported sales of 32,500 in 2015.

It briefly ceased brewing in March because it failed to repay its primary creditor, Union Bank, and was forced to enter into an assignment for the benefit of creditors, an agreement that some companies pursue as an alternative to bankruptcy. Three days later, a Los Angeles court appointed a receiver to oversee the sale of the company. It then resumed operations with a skeleton crew of six employees.

Sam Cappione has been appointed vice president and general manager to oversee all aspects of company operations. The eight employees who remained at Speakeasy Ales & Lagers during the sale of company assets will continue working at the brewery. Additional staff will be hired in the next few weeks and months to fill key positions in operations, sales, packaging, the tap room, and brewing departments. The tap room will be opened as soon as possible.

There will be no changes to the Speakeasy beer lineup at this time.