In 1974 a devastating fire occurred at the Wiese's Valley Inn completely destroying the bar and restaurant. This left a great vacancy in the town of Boonville. After the lot was cleaned of debris from the fire, it was left vacant for several years until around 1979 or 1980 when a gentleman named Ken Allen and his wife Kim purchased the lot and the house in back of the lot. Shortly after purchasing the lot Mr. Allen contacted a contractor to build a large, three-story building with an office at the very top, a bar and restaurant and dining room on the second floor and a large basement on the bottom. This was a very attractive building as well as being a great asset to the town of Boonville.
After a few months getting started with the bar and restaurant business, Mr. Allen decided to start a small micro brewery in the basement of the building. After a few weeks selling the brew at the bar upstairs and distributing it in a few places in the Valley, he also started moving the brew to other locations around the area. It became obvious that the basement was getting too small to make enough beer to satisfy his growing number of customers.
At this point, after shopping around and doing some serious dealing, Ken was able to purchase a piece of property from an old time local estate owner named Mr. Herbert Singley. The property was at the corner of Highway 253 on the west side of the road at the junction of Highway 128. This is where the first Anderson Valley town was located at the west end of the valley around 1856 and was named “The Corners.”
After having all the paperwork completed and getting all the i's dotted and t's crossed, it was time to get started with the construction of a new brewery under the ownership of David Norfleet, Ken Allen and Kim Allen in 1987. The new owners decided to make the location official, so they worked up a christening party and a dedication for the new location.
The dedication consisted of several of the construction workers starting construction of the brewery by making a mound of dirt on the spot and placing a large rock on top of the dirt mound where a large bottle of beer was to be broken over the rock. To make it more official, Ken asked Valley old-timer Bobby Glover if he could work up a small skit for the ceremony. Bobby immediately contacted me (Wes Smoot) and it was decided that I would be the Pope and Bobby Glover would be the bishop in full bishop and pope regalia. In order to make the ceremony more official Bobby Glover contacted R.D. Beacon of Elk to see if he would agree to bring his beautiful Rolls-Royce sedan over to Boonville and be the chauffeur to take Bobby and I to the ceremony area. This was agreed to and the ceremony began. A good time was had by all. It was quite a sight for Boonville
The original brewery designed and built by a Northern California gentleman by the name of David Norfleet and it was designed to be a ten brewers barrel brewery. The brewery was later sold and purchased by an Eastern family named Trey and Laura White and their cousins Andris and Fran DeGreen. They owned the brewery from 2001 to 2019 during which time it was increased in size from a ten barrel brewery to a 30 barrel brewery. In 2019 the brewery sold once again to a Mr. Michael McGee and it has since been upgraded to a 100 barrel brewery. The present brewery equipment was purchased from two breweries in Germany, Staffelstein and Kasaendorf. Those breweries were built by H. Huppman in 1959 and 1961. There were purchased in 1995 and installed in Boonville in 2000.
There have been several head brewers over the years. The original brewmaster was the owner and partner, David Norfleet. The first non-owner brewer was Bill Harper and later brewers were Brit Antrim, Dave Gatlin and, for the last 12 years it has been master brewer Fal Allen. Fal started at the brewery in 2001 and was made general manager in 2005. He later left the brewery in 2005 and returned in 2010 as head brewmaster.
Footnote: The Anderson Valley Brewery started the annual Boonville Beer Festival in 1995 and it has since grown in popularity.
To close, I would like to send a big thank you to Mr. Ken Allen, Kim Allen, David Norfleet, Michael McGee, Fal Allen, and anyone else I may have overlooked.