Gold Medal

Grace Brothers Brewing was one of several businesses owned and operated by Frank P and Joseph T Grace in Sonoma County, CA. From a family of seven residing in Santa Rosa, the brothers seized the opportunity to purchase Metzger’s Steam Brewery on February 6, 1897. Just three months later, it burned to the ground. While it is unknown how reconstruction happened so quickly, it is documented that the brewery reopened as a lavish two story brick building with the best finest possible on July 24 of that same year.  GBB expanded quickly, producing 50 barrels per day. The brothers even purchased a park in Santa Rosa where they hosted beer tastings in an effort to counteract the negative connotation between beer and saloons.

The brewery survived the 1906 earthquake and fires, and began producing paper labels as well as bottle caps in lieu of porcelain stoppers.  They continued to grow and prosper until prohibition struck in 1919, and the creativity of breweries was tested if they were to survive the next 14 years. GBB began bottling soft drinks and brewing cereal malt which is similar to today’s non alcoholic beers.

Post prohibition saw a tremendous resurgence in the beer industry with intense competition and modernization. GBB landed a deal with Pepsi Cola to produce and bottle its soft drink on its line.  

From 1937-1942, the family bought up many smaller breweries and formed a sister company, Grace Brothers Ltd of Los Angeles. However, family deaths and turbulence amidst the survivors took its toll resulting in the bankruptcy of GBL in the mid 1950s.

In 1953 GBB closed due to intense competition from the big breweries, changing tastes to lighter beers and a notable increase in the cost of labor. In the years that followed, the brewery was bought and sold multiple times, being home to Gold Medal beer for 1959-1967. It closed its doors for good in 1969 and shortly after was deemed unsafe and was torn down.