The pandemic-fueled wave of bar closures has claimed yet another historic brewery.
Buffalo Bill’s Brewery, credited as one of the first brewpubs in the United States, shuttered last week after 33 years. The Hayward, Calif., establishment is often recognized for its innovative pumpkin ale and overall contribution to the early craft beer movement.
In a June 2 Instagram post, owner Geoff Harries states that he would “change nothing” about the brewpub’s journey.
“Buffalo Bill’s was always about people,” Harries states in the post. “You shared your first dates, your last dates, your birthdays, your anniversaries and celebrations of life with us.”
The establishment was founded in 1983 by Bill Owens, shortly following legislation that allowed pubs to create beer on-premise. In 1982, Owens also advocated for the passage of California Assembly Bill 3610, which allows for breweries to sell beer directly to consumers alongside food.
Buffalo Bill’s legacy earned it a spot in the Smithsonian Museum, which holds select items from the historic brewpub including one of its original tap handles.
Current owner Harries joined the brewpub in 1987, initially cleaning tanks, later becoming assistant brewer, and finally purchasing the company for $92,000 in 1994.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Buffalo Bill’s Brewery faced challenges amid closures of nonessential businesses in 2020. Harris tells SFGate that the temporary shutdown and increasing expenses were both factors that led to the historic brewpub’s shutdown.
In addition to its historic pumpkin beer, the pub also served up beloved creations such as the Black Pumpkin Oatmeal Stout, Everlasting Blueberry Oatmeal Stout, and Tasmanian Devil Imperial Stout.