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Sonoma in Sonoma County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Sonoma Brewing Company

 
 
Sonoma Brewing Company Marker image. Click for full size.
By Loren Wilson, February 9, 2008
1. Sonoma Brewing Company Marker
Inscription. The Sonoma Brewing Co., established under the leadership of John Steiner was promoted in the pages of the Sonoma Index-Tribune by its publisher Harry N. Granice, a major stock holder in the brewery. The brewery, which had one of the best equipped brewing and ice plants in this section of the state, manufactured steam beer and ice in addition to having cold storage and creamery operations. It flourished for several years until outside competition (Grace Bros. Brewing Co.), legal battles, and the specter of Prohibition plunged the ambitious venture into financial ruin.
 
Erected 1981 by Sam Brannan Chapter No. 1004, E Clampus Vitus.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the E Clampus Vitus marker series.
 
Location. 38° 17.706′ N, 122° 27.234′ W. Marker is in Sonoma, California, in Sonoma County. Marker is on Second Street East, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Plaque is mounted on the front of the Vella Cheese Company building which is located just south of the Sonoma Bike Path. Marker is at or near this postal address: 315 Second Street East, Sonoma CA 95476, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Vella Cheese Factory (here, next to this marker); Ray Adobe
Sonoma Brewing Company Marker image. Click for full size.
By Loren Wilson
2. Sonoma Brewing Company Marker
(about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Blue Wing Inn (about 800 feet away); Mission San Francisco Solano (about 800 feet away); Mission San Francisco Solano Sacred Ground (about 800 feet away); The End of the Mission Trail (approx. 0.2 miles away); Vasquez House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Trinity Episcopal Church (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Sonoma.
 
Additional comments.
1. Sonoma Brewing Company
Construction was begun and by May of 1905 there stood next to the Northwestern Pacific tracks a three story stone building with a water tank on top. Vulcan Iron Works of San Francisco installed the bottling machinery and by 1907 the following advertisement appeared in the Sonoma Index-Tribune: Sonoma Brewing Company and Bottling Works......Mfg. of Steam Beer.....
Agents for Bohplaemia Lager Beer. Publisher of the Index-Tribune Harry H. Granice was a major stockholder in the brewery and would regularly exhort his readers to support local enterprise. The brewery was the largest manufacturing
Sonoma Brewing Company Building image. Click for full size.
By Loren Wilson
3. Sonoma Brewing Company Building
plant in the city and one of the best equipped brewing and ice plants in this part of the state. As such it was hoped by investors and civic leaders that it would entice other business to locate in Sonoma. Everything was running smoothly until November of 1911 when President and manager John Steiner resigned and sued the directors and stockholders of the brewery for $739.50 for services rendered. This was the first of several legal entanglements that continued to plague the company and ultimately caused its failure. In an effort to salvage the image of the fledgling company and to demonstrate what a great service it was capable of providing to the community, the June 22, 1912 edition of the Index-Tribune carried a dramatic article and the following headline: Sunday a Scorcher! ice Famine Averted by a Local Enterprise--Sonoma Brewing Co. To the Rescue! The community was hit by a heat wave and the Sonoma Brewing Company's chief competition, Grace Brothers Brewing Company of Santa Rosa, was unable to meet the customers demand for ice. The local ten ton plant was equal to the emergency and sped three delivery wagons to frantic customers. The plant also shipped 4000 lbs. of ice to Petaluma.
Harry Granice moralized to his readers "patronize a home industry to the end that you assist in building up and not pulling down your community". In November 1912 the brewery was sold
Sonoma Brewing Company Bottle image. Click for full size.
By Loren Wilson
4. Sonoma Brewing Company Bottle
at a foreclosure sale for $28,342.82 to the mortgagees. The brewery had been dealt a serious blow and even though it continued business operations it was not to recover from the latest misfortune.
Ever the optimist, Granice's vision was never to be realized. Harry Granice died in 1915 after investing thousands of dollars and devoting much time and effort trying to foster a home enterprise. His heirs and creditors were faced with the reality that because of the “wet and dry fight" and outside competition, Granice's 111 shares of preferred and 20 shares of common stock could only bring $400 upon their sale.
Following this turn of events, the brewery fell into economic ruin thus ending a brief but colorful chapter in the history of Sonoma County.

Loren Wilson —1981 
    — Submitted April 16, 2012, by Loren Wilson of Sebastopol, California.

2. Additional Information Regarding the Marker Dedication
Dave Means was Noble Grand Humbug when this plaque was dedicated. Plaque wording by Edward D> Hawkins.
    — Submitted April 16, 2012, by Loren Wilson of Sebastopol, California.

 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
Sonoma Brewing Company Logo, Plaque Detail image. Click for full size.
By Loren Wilson, February 9, 2008
5. Sonoma Brewing Company Logo, Plaque Detail
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Loren Wilson of Sebastopol, California. This page has been viewed 429 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Loren Wilson of Sebastopol, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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