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Fort Point Beer Co. Opening Valencia Street Taproom

Taking over the beer-friendly Brasserie St. James Space

Brasserie St James Patricia Chang

Fort Point Beer Co. will soon start pouring its popular, Presidio-brewed beers on Valencia Street. Known for locally ubiquitous cans like Villager IPA and Resonance saison, the brewery is taking over the bar and restaurant space at 742 Valencia Street (between 18th and 19th Streets) where they hope to open in early 2019.

Fort Point might be San Francisco’s best-known independent brewery thanks to keg and can accounts throughout the region, but the brand lacks a major consumer-focused space. “It’s about being able to offer not just more beer, but a closer connection to customers,” says co-owner Justin Catalana.

Its brewing facility, located on federal land near Crissy Field, isn’t open to the public, though Fort Point does run a modestly-sized Ferry Building taproom. Owners Justin and Tyler Catalana also own Mill Valley Beerworks in Marin, their original brewpub, which spawned their larger, Presidio-based brewery in the first place.

With 742 Valencia, the brewers are seizing on prime, beer-friendly real estate that’s been vacant since another brewery, Nevada’s Brasserie St. James, relinquished it this spring. Before that, the space belonged to Abbot’s Cellar, a high-end beer bar and restaurant from the nearby Monk’s Kettle that closed in 2015. The new tenants will operate a full restaurant at the address, but have no plan to brew there, as Brasserie St. James did.

The Fort Point team, lead by creative director Dina Dobkin, plans to significantly overhaul the old Brasserie St. James space. Dobkin, a trained architect, is familiar with the digs: She was formerly of Lundberg design, a firm that created the original Abbot’s Cellar space. As a brand, Fort Point has built a reputation for attention to design, with its cans and boxes bearing geometric architectural sketche of, for example, a section of the Golden Gate bridge that passes over the brewery’s namesake Fort Point.

Fort Point had previously pursued a Mission District taproom on 20th Street, submitting plans to shack up there with bag manufacturer Timbuk2. Those were narrowly approved, though they were locally contentious. The Valencia Street taproom will replace the proposed 20th Street facility.

Stay tuned for more as Fort Point settles in to its new Mission stronghold.