Magnolia Pub & Brewery opened in San Francisco's legendary Haight-Ashbury District in 1997, inspired by founder Dave McLean's exposure to community-minded British pub culture, a passion for home brewing, and his love for the Grateful Dead. The brewpub thrived for years brewing in the basement of the pub on a 7-barrel system, primarily serving the pub itself and very limited local draft distribution. A graduate of UC Davis' Master Brewers Program in 1994, McLean has won awards and local and national media attention for his ingredient-driven, English-influenced ales along with a diverse range of other beer styles. Most Magnolia beers are characterized by their use of heirloom, English, Maris Otter barley, their balance of malt and hops, and their session-able, moderate alcohol levels. Magnolia's annual revenue has grown every single year since it opened, both through increased brewpub business and a growing network of San Francisco retail draft accounts. It has struggled to keep up with beer demand in recent years and began an ambitious expansion project in 2011 to build the largest new brewery in San Francisco in decades (maintaining a commitment to uphold a very San Francisco-centric brand identity) and an an adjacent new restaurant, with a BBQ focus spearheaded by well-known San Francisco Chef Dennis Lee. The new production facility is now online and increases Magnolia's total capacity five-fold to start, with ample room to expand further to keep up with demand. After years of turning away business, Magnolia is finally able to expand its distribution network, open up new markets, and increase its product line into packaged beer (part of a planned second phase of expansion). The new restaurant will be open by the end of 2013.
From the outset, Magnolia has embraced a vision that breweries have always served a powerful role in their communities, as have pubs. Magnolia also takes the approach that the quality-driven values pursued in the brewery must be reflected and repeated in the kitchen. The commitment to excellence is best conveyed when it is expressed consistently through every aspect of our business, from its beer and food to the hospitality provided in its restaurants and the way in which it takes care of its wholesale customers. Magnolia has an obsession with quality in all areas, starting with the sourcing of brewing and culinary ingredients and the relationships it forms with farmers, ranchers, and other purveyors. Our love for good food, and our understanding that beer, too, is a food, has created rich synergies with both food vendors and our community of like-minded restaurants. This allows us to highlight the many wonderful ways in which beer and food can and should share a place at the table. As Magnolia expands, this is one of the core messages that it will continue to communicate in order to grow and also to help convert more enthusiastic consumers to the craft beer experience.