Today is the 84th birthday of Bill Owens, who founded one of California (and America’s) earliest brewpubs, Buffalo Bill’s, in Hayward, California. The brewpub opened in 1983, but in 1994 he sold it to his then-brewer, Geoff Harries, who still owns and operates it today. Bill also founded American Brewer magazine, which today is owned by Jamie Magee. Bill’s also an accomplished photographer, and has published several volumes of his photos, the most famous of which is Suburbia. More recently, he’s been involved in micro-distilling, in 2003 founding the American Distilling Institute. Please join me in wishing Bill a very happy birthday.
Bill and Fritz Maytag at an event for Maureen Ogle’s book “Ambitious Brew” in 2006.
Bill at Buffalo Bill’s in 1985.
A press shot from the 1980s.
Manning the mash paddle around 1985, the year he made his first batch of Pumpkin Ale, probably the first pumpkin beer in modern times.
Bill Owens’ early book — more of a pamphlet really — on How to Build a Small Brewery.
Fal Allen says
HAPPY BDay Bill – keep on Rockin it !!
Bud Daily says
What.? No mention of Bison Brewing ?
Jay Brooks says
Not until now, I was just trying to keep it simple, but yes, Bison Brewing that used to be on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley was also originally started by Bill. I don’t remember how long he had it before he sold it, but it was his baby. Dan Del Grande is the most recent owner, and he shut down the physical space when the lease came up for renewal and the landlord jacked the price. But he’s still contract brewing the beer and distributing bottled product.
Fal Allen says
Happy Birthday Bill – You are the Mahn !!
Dean Biersch says
How is that possible, Bill ?!! I remember an early Fest in Portland – ’86?? – i mentioned setting my sites on the old Bisou Theater in Palo Alto. We were walking btw the Wider garage brewery and the original Portland Brewing. Thanks for the encouragement and support when I needed it most. Happy Birthday !!