MicroBrewr 035: Staying creative and innovative with partner brewing, with 21st Amendment Brewery.

MicroBrewr 035: Staying creative and innovative with partner brewing

21st Amendment Brewery opened their brewpub in 2000. In 2006 they started canning beer. After a long search, 21st Amendment started “partner brewing” with Cold Spring Brewing in Minnesota in 2008. The relationship has benefitted both companies very well.

Shaun O’Sullivan moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1990s and got a job at the storied Triple Rock Brewery. He met Nico Freccia who was writing for Celebrator magazine. But when they later met again in brewing classes at University of California, Davis, they decided to become partners on their own brewery.

21st Amendment gallery

21st Amendment logo
Brew Free or Die IPA Hell or High Watermelon

21st Amendment doubled production from 2011 to 2012. Based on 2013 numbers, 21st Amendment was the 50th largest craft brewery in the nation.

And they’re coming home. Their new, hundred thousand-square-foot brewery in San Leandro, California will soon begin production.

Operations will continue in Minnesota. The partnership has been helpful to both companies. Each has learned from the other and each has grown significantly through the partnership.

“We call it partner brewing,” says Shaun. “We don’t like using the word ‘contract.’ We do have people out there. We have a lot of samples that are sent back and forth. It’s a huge amount of information that goes back and forth.”

“We don’t try to hide behind what we’re doing or what we’re not doing.”

With nearly 15 years of experience, Nicco has suggestions for a brewer wanting to start a brewpub:

  • Raise more money.
  • Consider your floor plan carefully.
  • Find someone with business sense.
  • Don’t stress out; be proud of what you did.

“There is a concern that there’s a bubble that’s going to burst, which I think is crap.” [Tweet This]


P.S. I found who said, “You can’t improve the beer, you can only keep it the same or hurt it. So your goal is to keep it the same when you’re putting it into packaging.” It was Rich Weber, in episode 019. I think it got cut out in post-production, but it was documented in episode 021.


Win a FREE T-shirt from 21st Amendment Brewery

Answer the following question in the comments section below:

What was the first beer from 21st Amendment Brewery that was sold on a Virgin America flight?

Two winners will be selected at random in 3 weeks (December 2, 2014). I’ll get in touch with you. Then Shaun will mail the T-shirt in your size.

Be sure to connect with 21st Amendment Brewery and thank Shaun for being on the show and for giving us 2 free T-shirts.

UPDATE: The winers have been selected! See below for more deets.

Listener question:

From Derrick Hamrick: What is the suggested process in hiring a brewer?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:


Other resources:

You can reach Shaun O’Sullivan and 21st Amendment Brewery at:

Shaun’s social media:

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

16 replies
  1. Kevin Scott
    Kevin Scott says:

    Brew Free or Die!!

    Also a question for the podcast;

    Can you talk about the pros and cons of contracting for raw materials for your beers (i.e, hops, malts, etc.)?

  2. Nathan Pierce
    Nathan Pierce says:

    Thanks to all those who made a comment here for the T-shirt contest from 21st Amendment Brewery. The winners have been picked!

    I put all of the names in a hat, closed my eyes, mixed it up, and drew out 2 names:
    Ryan McCarthy

    Thank you so much to everyone who participated. I think that was the first contest we’ve had at MicroBrewr. Kinda fun, huh?

    And thanks to 21st Amendment Brewery for offering the 2 T-shirts!


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *