ESB Update: Official complaints, resolutions and next steps

We had a great turn out last Saturday for our open house. The positive response to what we’re hoping to achieve here is fantastic. I can’t thank you all enough for your continued support. The photo below of the event was taken by Addison’s Godfather, one of my best friends, and one of the founding members of the ESB Pub Club, Tim Carter:

ESB Pub Club Members on 3/21/09

Never has this support been more needed than it has been these past 48 hours. As some of you already know by now, my wife returned home on Tuesday afternoon to be greeted by Officer Miguel Granados and Deputy City Attorney Michael Weiss. They were responding to a neighbor’s complaint about having an “Open Bar/Brewery” on our premises.

For anyone that has visited the Elizabeth Street Brewery over the last 6 years, you know immediately that we are NOT a business or licensed brewery/bar. Something that was also immediately evident to Officer Granados earlier this week. He and I exchanged emails over the past 24 hours and the matter has been resolved. We will continue to brew much as we have done and will continue to invite friends and neighbors to come enjoy our beers with us as we try to refine recipes and work on our business plan.

Which leads me to the complaint. I do not know who filed it, nor do I need to for that matter. A number of friends and neighbors have questioned why the individual chose to go to the police rather than come and discuss it with me and my family first (something that had crossed my mind too). However, it also has to be pointed out that I didn’t go to each of my neighbor’s homes last December before I started to slap an open sign in the middle of my driveway inviting folks in for a beverage. If one were to visit this website and see the sign outside our home, one could easily think that we’re a professional operation, without investigating further.

I have received phone calls from frustrated neighbors who haven’t been able to find our pub or have no indication of when we’re open. Personally, I think that is the beauty of what we’re doing. Half the fun is discovering the place for yourself. We are a family living in Noe Valley that wants to share our passion with our friends and neighbors – that passion just happens to be beer. Plain and simple. We don’t request payment for what we do, we just want your honest feedback on the beer and ideas of what we can do to improve before we try to open a real brewpub restaurant in the neighborhood.

Having said all of this, I am going to discontinue the use of the sign outside our home. It is large and obviously offensive to some and unnecessary. If people truly are interested in knowing what we’re doing, we put everything right here on our website. I will be brewing over the next few weeks – behind closed doors – so that we can start organizing some open houses in the late Spring and into Summer and really offer you an array of great beers to enjoy with us. Remember to follow us on Twitter too: @ESBAle.

There are three new honorary members of the “Pub Club” – folks that are great supporters of what we’re doing and that have, in some form or other, helped further us along in our journey.

The first is Kelly, our first ever “regular” of 2009. The only person to attend every open house since December. Your support for what we’re doing is infectious and I thank you!

The second is Kristian, who not only joined me for beers for the entire duration that we were open on Saturday (bringing along with him a self-engraved bottle capper) but came back later this week and donated a CO2 tank for the cause. Huge!

Finally, an extra special thank you to Officer Granados for his understanding and openness in listening to what my wife and I are doing here in our home. So refreshing and incredibly heart-warming to be honest. We will be posting our email exchange to the wall of the pub for our friends and family to read when they visit.

So, for those of you following our exploits. Please be patient over the next few weeks as we remain “closed’ working on recipes… the fruits of our labor, as always, will be shared with each and every one of you when the time is right.

After a rather hectic week, I can’t wait to brew our next batch of Daddy’s Chocolate Milk this weekend.

Relax. Have a homebrew.


Got Something to Say?

Filed: Beer Industry, Brewing, ESB Background, Events, Marketing, Operations



I am glad to hear this story has a happy ending. I am delighted to have the ‘Pub Club’ and your family as neighbors.

Brew on!


Posted by: Kemp Mullaney @ 12:57 pm // March 26, 2009

Good to hear that there was a peaceful resolution :-)

Posted by: Josh Hallett @ 1:19 pm // March 26, 2009

Glad this had a happy ending. Ever so slightly sad that my first visit came right before the hiatus. Ever so much looking forward to sampling the fruit of your labors in a few weeks!

Posted by: Fred Condo @ 2:29 pm // March 26, 2009

It’s nice to see yet another example of SF Cops being reasonable and understanding. Everyone knows, there are “the rules” then there are “san francisco rules” … and we all love it here because of the latter.

Looking forward to summertime open houses!

Posted by: Inger @ 6:40 am // March 27, 2009


Thanks! But I want to be sure to point out again that in this case, “the rules” and the “san francisco rules” are one in the same.

Can’t wait to have you over later this Spring!


Posted by: rbh @ 10:10 am // March 27, 2009

Fascinating. Glad it worked out for you. I thought what you were doing is illegal, too. Many states prohibit the free distribution of alcohol without an ABC permit, period, and I assumed California was the same and (seriously) all those Franzia boxed-wine art openings were violating the law.

Posted by: Eric in SF @ 12:30 pm // March 27, 2009

Glad to hear all this worked out and that things will continue. I’m looking forward to the next time I’m in the area to come and have another pint. It has been WAAAAAY to long.

When does the Pub Store open so I can show my support by buying a hat, t-shirt or mug?

Posted by: C.C. Chapman @ 5:53 am // March 28, 2009

One of the things I love about San Franciscans is how involved they are in their environments. They care about what grocery store moves into their neighborhood, what tree’s are removed and replaced and generally, the city is better because of it. In this case however, one neighbor crossed the common sense line. I don’t want to blow this out of proportion, and from the looks of the pictures, many more of you came in support, but I feel like it’s important to note the absurdity. There are enough (too many in my opinion) guidelines in place restricting what can and can’t do in our homes. These people are giving away fee beer. I’ll say that again, giving away free beer. I implore you all to embrace THE FREE BEER, you don’t know how good you have it.

Posted by: Real Estate Raj @ 10:15 am // April 1, 2009

Thanks so much for having us as guests. It was lovely fun and your beer is wonderful. So nice to meet our neighbors as well.


Posted by: Liz @ 10:05 am // April 3, 2009

Isn’t beer just the best subject the whole world over?

Posted by: Myron Sphon @ 4:13 pm // March 28, 2010

Leave a Reply

Photo FeedMore Photos //