An ABC license was recently filed for a “small beer manufacturer” at a vacant warehouse space on 65th Street (between Los Moles and Yuzu Ramen). “Wondrous Brewing Company” is a an effort by Head Brewer Wynn Whisenhunt and will be Emeryville first craft brewery since Golden Pacific Brewing in 1997.
Whisenhunt grew up in the East Bay and has been home brewing since he was a teenager. He practically grew up around breweries with his mother being part owner of E.J. Phair who have locations in Pittsburg and Concord.
When Whisenhunt became of legal drinking age, he attended brewing school in Chicago followed by a five month immersive in Munich.
After graduating, he landed a job a Lagunitas in Petaluma before being hired as the head brewer at Bartlett Hall in San Francisco. Sante Adairius was his next stop where he fortified his passion for brewing. “I’ve always loved their beers and their community. I learned a lot from them and made some amazing friends.” He worked there for a year before deciding he was ready to venture out on his own.
Whisenhunt and his father had been searching for a space between Oakland and Richmond when he happened upon the vacant Emeryville space. The space is also convenient biking distance to his home in nearby North Oakland.
The square footage, cinderblock walls and warehouse door were perfect for what he was looking for. After confirming there were no zoning restrictions with the city, he pulled the trigger on a lease.
The space was previously used as a design studio and as a doggy daycare before that. Upgrading the water drainage and sewage is going to be a sizable investment but Whisenhunt is stoked to have a blank canvas to map out his dream.
When complete, the space will have a 4,000 sq. ft. manufacturing space, a barrel aging room, an outdoor beer garden, a tasting room and ample bike parking.
Whisenhunt sought a name for his brewery that was inspiring and optimistic which were the reasons that pulled him into the field. He also wanted something that drafted off his initials. “Wondrous wrapped up all the feelings I get from brewing.”
Whisenhunt is looking to brew a bit of everything with an emphasis on German Lagers. “We’re going to get two horizontal German Lagering tanks that will allow us to produce them in the manner they were intended. We’ll also have plenty of hoppy beers as well and some classic Stouts & Porters.”
Whisenhunt is working with the city as well as a long list of government agencies.
He’s hopeful of opening to the public early next year and having Emeryville finally be a stop on the NorCal Brewery Map. Follow his progress on Instagram or facebook.
This story has been amended to include a historic Reference to Golden Pacific Brewing.
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Can’t wait to try a Wondrous IPA. Congrats to this entrepreneur on this big step. Looking forward to stopping by!
First? Nuh uh. First was Golden Pacific Brewing on Peladeau St. from approximately 1987– 1997. The head brewer was Mark Witty. Their best known beer, Golden Gate Original Ale took a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 1995: See: https://beerme.com/brewery.php?1876 for other details.
Great knowledge! I did some cursory research on the subject but cam up empty. I amended this with “modern” and added a blurb about Golden Pacific. Beer in a box, eh?
Did not know that! Very interesting.
[…] We last interviewed Wynn in mid-2019 shortly after signing a lease at the former warehouse space on 65th that was a “blank canvas” for his brewery vision. He had to first endure a nine month design review process with the city. […]
[…] just another welcoming drinking patio (joining nearby Prizefighter, Honor Bar, Branch Line, etc.). According to The E’ville Eye, the craft brewery is Emeryville’s first since Golden Pacific Brewing moved to Berkeley in 1997, […]