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Making a Splash in 2016—San Jose’s Year for Beer & Craft Drinks


Strike Brewing Taps

Tap handles at Strike Brewing

2016 is on its way to be a big year for beer and other craft drinks in San Jose, and their presence will not be pint sized.

It’s no secret that microbreweries are growing in number across the country, taking a sizable share of the market traditionally held by large multinational brands. Did you know that 44% of 21-27 year olds have never tried a Budweiser? San Jose has been experiencing a similar surge of interest in home-grown brewers, and as the nation’s 10th largest city, we have the population to support this growing industry.

Gordon Biersch, San Jose’s largest brewery, opened in 1997 in San Jose’s Japantown and is a household name.  In the past three years we’ve seen four microbreweries open and three of them have clustered in the South University area, largely because of the available industrial space. Strike Brewing, Hermitage Brewing, and Santa Clara Valley Brewing are within a few blocks of each other and now create a critical mass as a spot worth noting for tourists or beer lovers.

Mission Creek Barrels

Mission Creek Brewery

San Jose’s breweries reinforce our sense of identity, history, place, and civic pride. For instance, the San Jose Brewpub Cooperative, recently announced their new name, Umunhum Brewing. Their namesake’s origin is Ohlone and refers to a prominent peak in Santa Clara County that serves as a geographic and historic marker while also being home to a landmark radar station.  Beer names like Santa Clara Valley Brewing’s Electric Tower IPA underscore the iconic symbol of the City’s past. Mission Creek Brewery, part of Whole Foods on The Alameda, provides a unique rooftop patio that overlooks the hustle and bustle of trains at Diridon Station, a cornerstone of San Jose’s growing importance and dynamic future as a major transit hub.

Many more breweries are coming online with their own stories that represent the soul of our City. You’ll be hearing about these additional breweries in the next year in Downtown and Central San Jose, locating close to pedestrian activity in the SoFA District and other high-density residential areas.

San Jose is well positioned with critical infrastructure needed in the brewery ecosystem. Lincoln Court Brewing and Hermitage Brewing operate as craft brewery incubators, enabling brewers from throughout the Bay Area region with distributor licenses, to utilize their facilities to brew and bottle their beers. Thanks to them, there are several more bottles labeled on your store shelves that say they are Made in San Jose.

Coterie Cellars

Wine barrels at Coterie Cellars

Let’s not forget about craft wine and spirits. Coterie Cellars recently opened on Julian Street near The Alameda, and is a true urban winery with an established following.  With the passing of recent State legislation that allows craft distillers to have a retail component, we’ve seen interest surge in opening craft distilling operations in San Jose as well.

In the next few months we’ll be announcing additional adds to the brewery and craft drink ecosystem that will highlight San Jose as a player at the national level, so stay tuned!

For more information or to connect on other craft drink opportunities, contact: Reena Brilliot, reena.brilliot@sanjoseca.gov