El Dorado Brewing Company (EDBC)

History > Continued . . .

Story of El Dorado Brewing as Told by Jim Boyer.


The El Dorado Brewing Company was tucked away in the woods on the edge of El Dorado National Forest, at an elevation of 3500 feet, about ten miles east of the town of Mt. Aukum, California.  This is about halfway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, not on any major highway, but in the middle of a triangle bounded by US 50 to the North, State Route 49 to the Southeast, and State Route 88 to the Northeast.


The brewery was based on a seven barrel brew house consisting of two eighty gallon steam jacketed mash tuns, and a 350 gallon direct fired gas kettle.  Primary fermentation took place in two ten barrel modified Grundy tanks.  After 10 days in the primaries the beer was racked into two seven barrel Grundy tanks, where it continues to age and the yeast settles out.  Finally, it was racked a third time into two more seven barrel Grundies, our bright beer tanks and is ready for bottling in about three days.  We bottled in 12 ounce Heritage bottles on a Meheen Micro Master with a Comen cold glue labeler.  The whole process from brewing to bottling usually took between 21 and 24 days. (PHoto Tour of Original Brewery)


El Dorado Brewing Company was founded in 1853 -1955 and has changed owners twice starting back up on June 12, 1991 by the previous owner, Jim Boyer.  Jim was not only an accomplished brewer, but an experienced building contractor as well.  The combination of these talents led to the construction of the original seven barrel brewery in a small warehouse adjacent to the brewer's home in a rural area on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.  At an elevation of 3500 feet, this brewery is literally on the edge of the El Dorado National Forest .  Jim has often been known to quip, "We're not out of the woods yet!"

Product began to roll out of the brewery in the fall of 1994 after over one hundred test batches had been brewed, sampled and evaluated.  The first bottled beer to be sold was Real Mountain Ale in hand filled and hand labeled 22 ounce bottles.  When the bottling line became operative in June 1995, 12 ounce bottles of Real Mountain Ale in six packs were introduced.  TrailBlazer Stout made its debut in the fall of 1995.  Winter Spice had been a popular Christmas beer ever since Jim's homebrew days, and was first sold in six packs for the 1995 holiday season.  El Dorado Gold was introduced at the El Dorado County Fair in June of 1997, and became an instant hit.

Seeing the need for expansion, the brewery made an offer to purchase a commercial site with ample road frontage in the town of Mt. Aukum.  The new project was finally ready for ground breaking and was to include 2800 square feet in the pub as well as a 3800 square foot production facility.  The new equipment for this brewery will be sized for an initial capacity of 3000 barrels per year and is expected to be fully operational during the Spring of 1998.

We've often been asked about a brewery in Stockton , California .  Yes, there was a very successful brewery in Stockton . The original brewery was founded in 1853 by brothers Peter and Daniel Rothenbush producing a product known as "Steam Beer" and marketed under the name, "El Dorado Beer" the brewery was located in Stockton California  .  According to an article published in the Stockton Record on September 16, 1953 (commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of El Dorado Brewing Company) other western breweries soon began to copy the original "Steam Beer" of the El Dorado Brewery.

The original brewery building between American and Stanislaus, and Park and Oak Streets, was partially destroyed by a spectacular fire in 1877.  It was soon rebuilt of brick and survived for another fifty years, producing 5000 to 8000 gallons of a highly superior steam beer per month.  During the 1890's, it was bottled in amber "blob top" (ceramic swing top stoppers) bottles and also available locally in draft.

Around the turn of the century, bottling methods had changed and the "crown tops" that we still use today were initiated at the brewery.  Valley Brew became the most prestigious product of the brewery, capturing awards at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair and the 1905 California State Fair, as well as the Panama-Pacific Exposition in Eureka , California in 1915.

During the prohibition period the brewery was the first in the industry to develop a product with less than 0.5% alcohol, and was thus able to survive those uncertain years with the production of a near beer called Special Valley (awarded no less than twelve gold medals!) as well as a line of popular soft drinks.

Post prohibition production returned the brewery to its former glory and great successes were enjoyed until the early 1940's when brewing methods changed (along with many, many other US breweries) as corn and rice became prominent ingredients in beer.

Another gold medal from the California State Fair came in 1953 as a commemoration of the brewery's unique 100 year record of one family production of a single product at one location spanning a century.

That brewery was closed in October of 1955, however, due to the difficulties of competing in the current marketplace.  Transportation had become a major factor as the larger breweries were able to produce greater quantities of beer and to ship nationally for very little expense.


    On June 12, 1991, Jim Boyer received a Business License from El Dorado County , and filed a "fictitious business name statement" with the El Dorado County Recorder's Office for the name EL DORADO BREWING COMPANY.  For the next three years, he accumulated the brewing equipment and renovated his former cabinet shop.

In the Spring of 1994 as the graphics for our labels were being developed by our graphic artist, Rich Burgdorf, we produced our first T-shirt.  On the advice of our attorney, we filed for Federal Trademarks for the logo which we had adopted from a similar design used during the 1890's by the former El Dorado Brewing Company.

In June of 1994 we heard about a brew pub planning to open soon in Stockton , using our name! A check with the California Secretary of State revealed that indeed a corporation named EL DORADO BREWING CO., INC. had filed with the State on February 16, 1993.  We were astonished!  Due to a quirk in California State Law, partnerships and corporations file with the Secretary of State, but sole proprietors file fictitious name statements in the county of their principle place of business.  Evidently, they didn't know about us, and now we had just found out about them.   Our trademark attorney, wrote a very polite "cease and desist" letter informing the owner, Creighton Younnel, of our prior rights to the name.

Younnel's trademark attorney took the position that there was no problem with both companies operating with the same name, and then proceeded to ignore our requests that his client should change the name of his business.  In the Spring of 1996, Younnel sold the Stockton Brew pub to Steve Altimari, and this new owner had the wisdom and the courtesy to accept our prior rights to the name and decided to rename his brew pub VALLEY BREWING COMPANY , and we wish them great success!

We are now contracting brewing out of Davids Ale Works in Camino Ca.


                                                                All of EDBC products are Federally Trademarked.

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