In the middle of the night on Dec. 3, a fire started at 69/69 Bluxome Street, a timber-frame building that dates to 1912. Quickly escalating into a two-alarm conflagration, it consumed Local Brewing's office along with some artist studios on the floor above, causing extensive smoke and water damage to the brewery itself. It took some 70 firefighters roughly two hours to put it out. No one was injured, but the fire grew so hot that the building’s roof collapsed.
The blaze effectively brought the 12-year-old Local, one of only a handful breweries in the Bay Area with female leadership, to a halt.
“I don’t know what the near future holds, but in the next couple of years, it’s not going to be at Bluxome Street,” cofounder and brewmaster Regan Long told The Standard. “The building’s been red-tagged. They will have to demolish that floor and rebuild.”
While she waits for the insurance companies to make their determination, rain falls through charred slats of wood directly into the brewery space. It’s an especially difficult situation for Long and her team of nine, as Local has always been a “destination-centric” operation, one that derived a greater share of its revenue from people coming in for some Baycation Tropical Blonde or Sixty-Nine Pils than from sales to Whole Foods or Total Wine.
“We weren’t necessarily a production brewery,” Long says.
As tends to happen in the craft beer industry, other brewers have already reached out and offered to brew a beer here and there as a fundraiser. Given that the fire occurred mere weeks before the holidays—and barely two months before San Francisco Beer Week—such a misfortune could easily turn catastrophic for any number of families, but Long says she is able to make payroll for the next two months (and then some).
“We give our team a holiday bonus, so we’ll be able to do that,” she said. “We’re one of the only woman-owned, gay-owned breweries in the Bay Area. A lot of support is rallying to help.
A GoFundMe for fire relief has already raised more than $15,000. It promises “a list of locations where you can nab up the last bit of Local beer for the year, and we’ll update our online store with some Local T-shirts that we were able to salvage.”
📍69 Bluxome St., SF
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