Beer Birthday: Jack McAuliffe

Today is the 72nd birthday of Jack McAuliffe, the father of the modern microbrewery. Jack incorporated his New Albion Brewery in October of 1976, and began producing beer the following year from his tiny brewery in Sonoma, California. His 1-barrel system suggests he may also have been the first nanobrewery, as well. I finally got a chance to meet Jack when he was San Francisco for CBC several years ago, and was privileged to spend some time with him the week after CBC when Jack visited Russian River Brewery and then the next day he graciously showed us the original site of his New Albion Brewery. I’ve since been fortunate to spend time with Jack on several more occasions, and it’s always a treat. Join me in wishing Jack a very happy birthday.

Me and Jack at Russian River Brewery earlier this year when they launched the new New Albion beer in bottles.

Maureen Ogle, Jack and Julie Johnson, from All About Beer magazine, during the Craft Brewers Conference in San Francisco last year.

Vinnie Cilurzo, from Russian River Brewing, with Jack, showing us around the original site of the New Albion Brewery.

Jack and Boston Beer’s Jim Koch at their annual media brunch during GABF a few years ago.

Jack and Fritz Maytag at last year’s awards luncheon where both of them were inducted as the first members of the California Beer Hall of Fame.

Jack and me at Russian River Brewery.


  1. says

    Thanks for this, Jay. I felt so fortunate to find a bottle of New Albion when Boston Beer Co. re-released it. Nothing fancy, but honest and satisfying. A terrific beer. I know he was estranged from the industry for a while. I’m glad he’s reemerged, and I hope he’s enjoying the latest renaissance.

  2. Gary Gillman says

    A true legend and kudos to Jim Koch for helping to restore Jack McAuliffe to “craft beer central”. My best wishes, with hopes that his contributions to craft brewing will grow following the initiative launched by Jim Koch.


  3. Douglas Getty says

    First Craft Beer for me back in 1976. I found it at Charlie’s Liquors
    in Petaluma. Loved his Porter and Pale Ale, cheers Jack

  4. BeerBob says

    Happy Birthday Jack!

    Hey Jay, please tell me more about the California Beer Hall of Fame.
    It did not come up in a Google search.


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