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The Team Behind This West Oakland Craft Brewery Shotguns Beers After Every Collab

Written by Sarah HoltzPublished Dec. 08, 2022 • 11:30am
Brix Factory Brewing
(From left to right) Natasha Gillooly, Michael Boals, John Gillooly, Eric Ortega and Lindsey Huysentruyt, the staff of Brix Factory Brewing, prepares to shotgun beers. | Courtesy Brix Factory Brewing

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Brix Factory Brewing is heading to West Oakland next spring. Helmed by veteran brewmaster John Gillooly, who has worked in the beer industry since 1995, the production facility and taproom will be located between Mandela Parkway and Peralta Street, near Ghost Town Brewing.

Brix Factory’s Alcohol Beverage Control manufacturing license has been pending since Dec. 5. Gillooly told The Standard he recently received good news from his architect about the brewery’s build-out timeline after securing production equipment from East Bay breweries Faction, Ghost Town and Temescal. If the rest of the permitting process goes smoothly, his team is on track to open in the spring, though Gillooly couldn’t specify a date.

Gillooly served as the brewmaster for San Leandro-based Drake’s Brewing Co. from 2012 until the pandemic, before setting plans in motion to open his own label. He has assembled a team of fellow alumni from Drake’s. “This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while,” he said.

Brix Factory is also a father-daughter operation: Kira Gillooly is the company’s social media coordinator and future tasting room manager. She started her craft beer career at Faction Brewing in Alameda and worked in marketing for Drake’s before joining her father’s venture.

The young brewery has steadily built a reputation over the past year through a series of collaborations with other local brewhouses like Temescal and Original Pattern, both located in Oakland. Each time the company launches a new collab, the team shotguns a celebratory beer and posts to Instagram—though Gillooly assured The Standard they shotgun with inexpensive cans, not their product.

Gillooly plans to focus his tap line on low-alcohol ales—around 12 of his beers will be under 5% ABV. “Some people like to turn up everything to 11 with IPAs, but I like to challenge myself to make flavorful beers that aren’t going to knock you out for the day,” he said.

Brix Factory Brewing will operate out of a long industrial space with two semi-adjoining rooms, with the taproom directly in front of the production space. Gillooly compared the layout to Original Pattern in Oakland’s Jack London Square or Barebottle in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights.

As a West Oakland resident, Gillooly said he’s looking forward to setting up shop in an area where he’s already put down roots. “We’re excited to add to the list of fun things to do in West Oakland,” he said.

Now that Gillooly has nearly 30 years in the industry under his belt, he said Brix Factory may be the culmination of his career. “This is sort of the last thing I’m hoping to do,” he said.

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Sarah Holtz can be reached at [email protected]


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