Oakland Distillery Scene - What You Need To Know

Oakland Distillery Scene – What You Need To Know

Oakland is a city that has a long and illustrious history of producing some of the best wines and craft beers in all of the United States. California, as a whole, is renowned for producing some of the best-tasting and most popular alcoholic beverages.

However, the city of Oakland, the largest in California, while it might have a vibrant history of alcoholic beverages, it does not have quite as much experience in the world of distilleries and producing spirits and hard alcohols.

In fact, it wasn’t until 2014 that Oakland actually opened its first-ever distillery since prohibition was put into place in the city!

Despite this, the distillery industry in Oakland is growing rapidly and is becoming very vibrant and worth exploring, which is likely why you found yourself on this very page.

Well, you could not have come to a better place, because today we are going to take a deep dive into the Oakland distillery scene, and everything you need to know about it!

A Short Introduction To Oakland

Oakland is the largest city in all of California, which is quite a feat, considering how dense and popular California is as a state. The city is known for its vibrant culture, which exists thanks to the equally vibrant people that populate it!

The city is home to the famous Lake Merrit, one of the central landmarks of the city, and one of the greatest parks to be found in all of California. As well as this, Oakland also plays a significant role in black history, as an epicenter for some of the most important social justice movements of the last few decades.

The city also has loads of amazing eateries that are popular not just with tourists, but also with local people, thanks to the local flavors that are seamlessly combined with the vibrant flavors of the unique cultures of its population.

What Local Distilleries Does Oakland Have?

Despite not having an extensive history of producing spirits and other hard alcohols in distilleries, Oakland does have a distilling industry that is slowly beginning to thrive.

Wright & Brown Distilling is arguably the most important facility in the area thus we could not wait to introduce it to you! This distillery was the first ever to be opened in the city of Oakland since prohibition was first ushered in around January of 1920.

The opening of Wright & Brown Distilling was very significant within the world of distilleries, because it paved the way for many other businesses to also get started in the world of distilling.

Because of its unique contemporary history, this facility is very worth paying attention to. Though you cannot visit the distillery itself, you can find their products all across the city, available for purchase from countless retailers.

These drinks are full of passion, and all of the love that the owners have for the production process.

If you want to grab some of their whiskies in person, you can visit the adjacent store that can be found right next to the facility, where you can meet some of the team and get a much greater sense of the passion poured into every bottle.

Unfortunately, Wright & Brown Distilling is the only distillery in Oakland as of yet, but there are a number of other distilleries close to the area!

Distilleries Near Oakland

St. George Spirits

St. George Spirits, located in Alameda, California, is one of the best-prized distilleries in all of California, and one that has become renowned for the professional production process that results in some of the best spirits around.

St. George Spirits is a distillery that has a great reverence for the history of distilling, but they never settle for what has been done before. They love to play around and experiment with their processes to produce entirely new spirits with different flavors and aromas.

Unfortunately, once again, the St. George Spirits facility cannot be explored in person, but their range of products can be found all across the state.


Mosswood Spirits is another highly treasured distillery that can be found close to the Oakland area. The business is entirely independently owned, which allows them to create truly unique spirits that you cannot find elsewhere.

This distillery is found closer to North Oakland, so though it may be a little more out of the way, you can totally feel its impact in some of the many bars and stores throughout the Oakland area.

You’ll be able to find this distillery’s products all across the city, which makes it incredibly accessible!

Why Are There So Few Distilleries In Oakland?

At this point, you might be finding yourself wondering why there are so few distilleries to be found in Oakland.

The main reason for there being so few distilleries in Oakland is due to the fact that learning how to operate a distillery is very difficult. Brewing wine or beer, with a little bit of practice, and a few additional tools, can actually be done at home, which allows people to gain experience in brewing before expanding into a more professional venture.

Distilling, on the other hand, requires the use of much more precise equipment that is not only difficult to learn to use, but massively expensive to gain access to.

Considering that prohibition has had such a long-lasting impact on Oakland, even more than 80 years after being abolished, it should come as no surprise that the city has very little in the way of distilling history!

What Is There To See And Do In Oakland?

Luckily, if you are visiting Oakland, there is plenty to do, and plenty of it can get you directly involved with the distillery industry in the city!

The nightlife of Oakland is very vibrant, and there are numerous pubs, clubs, and eateries that serve all kinds of spirits. Many of these venues serve spirits that have been distilled at the Wright & Brown Distilling facility!

We totally recommend paying a visit to the Kingfish Pub & Cafe! They serve all kinds of excellent drinks, as well as plenty of fresh food.

This can all be enjoyed within the comfort of the pub itself, or in the cozy beer garden found towards the back. It’s a great place to soak in the nightlife in the Summertime.

There are also numerous bars that are wheelchair accessible, and very accommodating to those with disabilities and mobility issues.

One of the top recommendations is Rooftop 25, which not only provides great views over the city but also great food and unique drinks on the extensive menu.

The food and beverage culture in Oakland is truly thriving, and this is to go without mentioning some of the amazing food options, such as Square Pie Guys, who specialize in square-shaped pizza, and the La Farine Bakery, which produces some of the most beloved baked treats in the entire city.

When you’re not drinking and dining the night away, you’ll definitely want to head out and explore the city around you on foot. One of the most essential attractions to visit is the Oakland Zoo, situated in the Grass Valley neighborhood.

The zoo is home to over 750 exotic and native animals that you can get up close and personal with!

The Chabot Space & Science Center is also a great place to head to expand your mind and experience some of the latest advancements in science, and get a much greater sense of the vast universe that surrounds us!

And if you are visiting Oakland, you will also want to take the opportunity to visit some of the many monuments that celebrate the city’s vibrant history.

The ‘Remember Them’ monument, found in Henry J. Kaiser Memorial Park is easily one of the most awe-inspiring monuments in the city.

It features an intricate carving of multiple significant figures that have made efforts for social justice. It’s easy to get lost in all of the detail, and you could find yourself spending hours there!

To Wrap Up

Though Oakland still only has a fledgling distillery scene, it is one that is growing rapidly. Whether you live close to the area, or you are simply visiting for the day, it is totally worth trying out some of the many spirits that are produced within the city!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Oakland California An Expensive Place To Live?

Living in Oakland is slightly more expensive than some other cities. The cost is around 5% more than the California state average, and 46% higher than even the national average!

What Is The Most Walkable Neighborhood In Oakland?

If you want to get out and explore the city of Oakland, then we highly recommend visiting the Uptown District.

Is Oakland A Walkable City?

Yes. Unlike many cities, especially in California, Oakland has plenty of pedestrian access and plenty of great transport networks to minimize traffic and the need for excessive roads.

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