The San Francisco craft beer stars behind Cellarmaker Brewing Co., who three years ago surprised us with a shockingly good pizzeria to go with their always good and often hoppy beers, are now expanding to Oakland.
Cellarmaker Brewing made its debut on the SF beer scene almost a decade ago, opening their low-key SoMa taproom in the summer of 2013. Best known for their interesting and balanced IPAs and their smoked stout called Coffee & Cigarettes, Cellarmaker quietly built their brand at local festivals and the taproom before opening Cellarmaker House of Pizza (3193 Mission Street) in 2019. The fluffy and delicious Detroit-style square pies at the pizzeria were a favorite comfort food for many through the pandemic, and now you can purchase 20 of their current releases by the bottle or can.
The news was first broken by Eater and now reconfirmed by the Chronicle that Cellarmaker is bringing both its beer and its pizza to the Jack London Square area of Oakland, taking over the original Blue Bottle warehouse and cafe at 300 Webster Street. Blue Bottle announced the closure of their original flagship location back in November, and it was only ten days later that Eater noted the liquor license applications filed for the space by Cellarmaker.
The 8,000-square-foot space will give Cellarmaker its biggest footprint to date, and allow the brewery to double its brewing capacity. And it sounds like this could end up being the company's flagship spot — co-founder Connor Casey tells the Chronicle that he and his other two co-founders all live in Oakland and have been seeking an Oakland location for years.
"We see a lot of demand for our beer over here, and we want to bring our pizza as well," Casey tells the paper.
The big garage doors in the new space promise an open and airy feel in nice weather, with sunset and Oakland city skyline views. And the team is aiming to open by late summer — after the pizza ovens and brewing equipment get installed.
Casey and co-founder/head brewer Tim Sciascia met while working at Marin Brewing Company — the pioneering Larkspur craft brewery that, sadly, just announced its permanent closure at the end of this month. Sciascia had come from Boston, where he previously worked for Sam Adams, and while Casey was working at City Beer Store a decade ago, he drew up a business plan, brought Sciascia on board, found the little industrial space on Howard Street, and the rest is history.
Casey says his ethos at Cellarmaker isn't based on producing familiar, flagship beers, but about variety.
"When I get to the bar I want to try something different and I want a rotating list of beers at the bar," Casey told The Brew Enthusiast back in 2014. "This is why I generally choose to rotate which beers we make at Cellarmarker. We may lose the ability to dial in a beer by brewing it repetitively, but being able to try something new most of the time is just too damn fun. We’re not building the brewery on a flagship, but rather the reputation of the brewery itself. It’s a different approach in the beer world, but we’re gonna roll with it."
With that in mind, the new Oakland location of Cellarmaker will expand the beverage offerings with wine — a new California law makes winemaking easier for breweries — as well as hard seltzers. As Casey tells the Chronicle, the wine won't have its own brand or anything, but will be offered as a seasonal special as they produce small batches.