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Almanac Co-founder Departs Influential Brewery

Jesse Friedman, a major force in local beer, is striking out on his own

Almanac co-founders Jesse Friedman (left) and Damian Fagan (right)
Patricia Chang

Jesse Friedman has left Almanac Beer Co., the internationally-distributed brewery he co-founded with Damian Fagan, Almanac’s CEO, in 2010. Most recently, Friedman and Fagan expanded to a major brewing facility in Alameda, significantly increasing their output of sour beers and IPAs after nearly a decade of “gypsy brewing” — making beer in extra space at other breweries.

“The time felt right,” Friedman said of his departure in a statement shared with Eater SF. “As Almanac has grown, taken on significantly more staff and shifted focus, I faced the common founder problem of my role changing over time. After a lot of reflection and soul searching, I made the difficult decision that it was time for me to move on and that it would be the best decision for both myself and Almanac.”

Friedman has been instrumental in Almanac’s path: The company opened its Mission Taproom and beer garden in 2016, the company’s first customer-facing space. Almanac’s massive, 30,000 square foot dedicated brewing facility in Alameda — including a 2,000 square foot indoor taproom and 1,000 square foot outdoor beer garden — followed this year.

Going forward, Friedman will have no day-to-day role at Almanac, but he remains a board member and says he will advise the company on strategic decisions. His roles at Almanac, from brewing to social media and publicity, have been distributed among staff. Brewer Phil Emerson was recently promoted to the position of brewmaster.

“Almanac has built an incredible team that is ready to take it to the next level, and grow Almanac into the best future version of itself,” says Friedman. “I’m sad that I won’t be a direct part of it, but stoked for what the future holds for the brewery.”

Eater SF awaits comment from Fagan on Friedman’s departure. Friedman characterizes the split as amicable.

Looking back, says Friedman, “my time at Almanac was extremely rewarding, but also taxing as I gave my all to the brewery for the past eight years.” So what’s next for the force in local beer? He’s not sure. “I’m looking forward to taking some time off for recuperation and travel, writing, and being open to new opportunities and projects in beer and food.”

Almanac Beer Co.

651 West Tower Avenue, , CA 94501 (415) 992-3438 Visit Website