Purchase revives 20-year-old San Francisco brewery

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) --A San Francisco brewery that began by delivering kegs out of the back of a van will reopen following a purchase Monday, a company spokesman said Tuesday.

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, which is located in San Francisco's former Butchertown and now Hunters Point neighborhood, was purchased Monday by Hunters Point Brewery LLC for $2.5 million, Speakeasy spokesman Brian Stechschulte said.

The proceeds will pay off at least some of the outstanding debt, which caused its bankruptcy earlier this year.

Hunters Point Brewery LLC is a new company owned by Ces Butner, former owner of Horizon Beverage Company in Oakland.

Butner said in a statement that he worked with Speakeasy Ales & Lagers for six years as a distributor and helped expand its distribution beyond San Francisco.

"There was a tremendous amount of growth and interest in the Speakeasy brands," Butner said. "It was one of the best craft breweries we worked with and the beer quality is very high."

Butner bought the brewing equipment and brand, which includes the popular names Big Daddy IPA, a West Coast style India Pale Ale, and Prohibition Ale, an amber/red ale.

Speakeasy has a tap room where visitors can have a drink, but it is closed until the company hires staff members and brews some beer. No timeline exists for those things to take place.

"We've got a lot of work to do to get the company up and running again," Stechschulte said. 

No changes are planned to the beers or the operation. The focus is on getting the company operating again, according to Stechschulte.

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers is located at 1195 Evans Ave. in San Francisco's Hunters Point neighborhood.

The company closed March 10 because of a large amount of debt, which included a bank loan for an expansion.

Butner and Hunters Point Brewery LLC will not be liable for the debt. Stechschulte couldn't say how much the debt was.