The Device Story
Owner and head brewer Ken Anthony has been a craft beer lover since the mid-1980's. Every Friday his dad would buy a pizza from the neighborhood pizzeria and a six pack of Anchor Steam. At the end of the meal, Ken's dad would give him the last sip or two of his beer. Ken had stolen a few sips of Budweiser from kegs at picnic events, so he knew the difference between craft beer and the domestic beer that had dominated the market for decades. The cold Anchor Steam had so much character and flavor that he knew there was more to beer than bland, mass-produced domestic swill.
Ken attended the University of California San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering, earning his BS and MS in Structural Engineering. By this time, the craft brew revolution was well underway and San Diego was leading the charge in California. He frequented local breweries such as Alpine, Alesmith, Green Flash, Port/Lost Abbey and later, Mike Hess Brewing. One day, he was returning a keg to Alesmith after a party at his home. A friendly man greeted him at the door to the brewery to accept the keg return and refund the deposit. The man fumbled around a bit to find the paperwork and remarked, "I own the place but I can't find anything in the office." He introduced himself as Pete and invited Ken and his wife Melissa back to the make-shift tasting area to sample some fresh brews. The tasting room was not open for the day yet, so it was just the three of them, sampling fine beer and talking about them. When asked how he got into the brewing business, Pete said that he had attended USD for law school and decided that he preferred brewing beer to practicing law. Ken thought that if a successful lawyer would leave a career he'd worked so hard to obtain, there must be something very special and rewarding about running a brewery. He also thought, "maybe I can do this too someday...".
Ken's friend Justin of Ol' Boy Brewing introduced him to the world of homebrewing. In the beginning, they were brewing extract batches on the stove top, using a funnel filled with ice as a wort chiller, and fermenting in the closet. The beer was lackluster at best, but was the start of something so much bigger. Before long they were all grain brewing, temperature controlling, kegging and hosting tasting parties. The guys talked about opening a small brewery in San Diego but were routinely deterred by the overwhelming cost and difficulty associated with such a start up.
In September of 2011, Ken and his wife welcomed their first child into the world. Being Northern California natives and wanting to be close to family, Ken transferred to his company's Sacramento office and relocated his family back to Northern California. Now, completely on his own, Ken started to make plans to open his brewery. He continued to brew batches as fast as he could empty his fermenter. He would often brew the same beer three or four times in a row, making subtle recipe changes, until it was just right.
In 2012, Ken began looking for a place to open his brewery. While touring a few different industrial/warehouse locations, Ken's agent thought it was worth showing him a small converted industrial space that had been a revolving door for delis, cafes, and caterers. When Ken and Melissa saw the space, completely outfitted for restaurant use, they knew they had found their spot. One of the most significant expenses in starting any brewery, big or small, is infrastructure. Although not fit for a microbrewery, such as our good friends at Track 7 Brewing Co., this location had already received all the necessary improvements to accommodate a nano brewery.
Ken and Melissa patiently waited for the City of Sacramento to vote in the new zoning ordinance. As soon as it passed 9 to 1, they pulled the trigger and rented their space. From that moment on, it was a whirlwind of paperwork, meetings, phone calls, trips to Home Depot, late nights, long weekends and many, many purchase orders. In August 2013, the first commercial batches of Device Brewing beer were produced. Our beers are on tap at select locations around the Greater Sacramento Area, Elk Grove, Roseville and Folsom. The brewery taproom is now open and features our mainstay beers as well as some seasonal offerings.