The St. Patrick's Day Massacre


So, way back, before we opened the TapRoom and Beer Sanctuary in Petaluma, we would host weekly parties every Thursday up in our employee Loft, opening the taps at 4:20 to friends of the brewery and anyone that made the trek to visit us. These weren’t huge ragers. Just some friends, old and new, getting together to drink some beers and hang out.

The government agency that regulates alcohol (called the Alcohol Beverage Control) was alarmed by our 4:20 starting time and thought we might be up to something nefarious. So, they sent two agents undercover—for 8 straight weeks—to ‘infiltrate’ our parties.

They wanted to bust us for selling weed, but no one would sell (we’d just share it); so they couldn’t bust us for that. Then, they would act drunk and try to get over-served at our bar, which we wouldn’t do; so they couldn’t bust us for that, either. But they couldn’t go home empty-handed. 

Then came St. Patrick’s Day 2005, a day we now refer to as the St. Patrick’s Day Massacre. Since it fell on a Thursday, we threw our usual party, during which a few people left the Loft to go outside to play backgammon and smoke some pot. Nothing too crazy. Regardless, the undercover agents pulled out their badges as other agents rushed in to shut down the party and kick everyone out. 

The government charged us with “Disorderly House” and “Moral Turpitude”. Their original ruling was a one-year revocation of our license, but after an appeal it was reduced to a 20-day suspension of our choosing. (So we chose to use this time to install our new bottling line—something we would’ve had to shut down the brewery ourselves to pull off anyways!)

Now, and every year since 2005 in remembrance of the ST. PATRICK’S DAY MASSACRE and in commemoration of the 20-day suspension that followed, we brew the especially-bitter Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale. Unforgiven & unrepentant. Cheers!


We threw our usual party…Regardless, the undercover agents pulled out their badges as other agents rushed in…
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