Oakland United Beerworks is a small, tightly knit crew of talented, hardworking people dedicated to producing and serving brewery-fresh craft beer to our hometown of Oakland and neighboring communities. Learn about our roots as Linden Street Brewery and meet the crew that makes it happen.

OUR OAKLAND ROOTS

Oakland is and always has been a beer town; a place where hard-working people would gather together to enjoy locally brewed, fresh beer.  As the local population grew during the Gold Rush and building of the Transcontinental Railway, Oakland was affectionately referred to as the “Milwaukee of the West” for its numerous neighborhood-based breweries. After World War II, the resident population moved from downtown to the suburbs and production brewing in Oakland stopped.

Founded in 2009 as Linden Street Brewery, we became the first community-based production brewery in Oakland since Golden West Brewery closed in the 1950s. We are proud to have been the first of many craft brewers who have since restored production brewing in Oakland.

In 2017, following the sale of our building on Linden Street to a new developer, we moved our operations to the waterfront Jack London District and rebranded as Oakland United Beerworks. We substantially expanded our brewing capacity, added a team of dedicated employees, and opened a spacious new taproom.

With the support of a small team of dedicated Oakland craft beer enthusiasts, Oakland United is proud to continue the great beer brewing tradition in Oakland.

MEET OUR CREW

Mike Vinson
Mike VinsonHEAD BREWER

Oakland United is pleased to announce Mike Vinson as our new Head Brewer. Mike has over 5 years of experience brewing in the Bay Area and comes to us from Headlands Brewing, where he was the Head Brewer for their Lafayette brewpub. He has previously worked for East Brother Brewing and Gilman Brewing and has won multiple awards, including Gold medals for his Pilsner at the California Craft Brewers Summit (2019) and for his Oatmeal Stout at the California State Fair (2019). Mike will be working hand-in-hand with Brewer Ralph Long to bring our customers new, creative and delicious craft beer.

Ralph Long
Ralph LongBREWER

As our longest tenured employee, Ralph began his career with us when he joined Linden Street Brewery as a weekend server in our outdoor tasting patio in 2015.  Since then, Ralph has been a company stalwart and has contributed to shaping and growing our craft beer lineup as we moved from Linden Street and became Oakland United. In the past several months, Ralph independently brewed his first beer, Day on the Green, with the name reflecting another of Ralph’s passions, the Oakland A’s.  As our own talented utility player, Ralph has been engaged in every facet of the beer biz from serving and delivery to more recently, recipe development, brewing and canning.  His ready smile and laid back personality belies an encyclopedic knowledge of beer, in general, and craft beer, in particular. Come on by the taproom and you’ll likely see Ralph hard at work but always ready to say hi!

Eric Pontrelli
Eric PontrelliTAPROOM MANAGER

Meet our new Taproom Manager, Eric Pontrelli. As a recent transplant from LA, Eric made his NorCal debut in charge of our Delivery and Logistics, successfully juggling multiple balls simultaneously, often requiring nerves of steel in the face of logistical challenges (not to mention bad traffic). In his new role, Eric’s juggling skills will serve him well as he aims to keep our taproom a well-oiled machine and our customers well hydrated and satisfied. He received his BA degree in Public Administration at Cal State Fullerton and is currently enrolled in the MBA program at UC Davis. Eric gained his customer service experience in management with Big 5 Sporting Goods and Universal Studios Hollywood Theme Park. He discovered his love and enthusiasm for craft beer as an avid homebrewer, culminating in his winning First Place for his Pale Ale in the Orange County Fair Homebrew Competition. You’ll see Eric’s smiling face at the front of the house at the taproom so come on by and join us in welcoming Eric in his new role!

Tracy Jung
Tracy JungEAST BAY SALES

Tracy’s 15 years of experience in sales and marketing are eye-popping, having directed custom, client-specific sales programs at GameStop Media, What They Like, Inc., MTV Networks and IGN Entertainment, among others. While at GameStop, her customer-centric approach was key to her success as Sales Director of the West Coast and her accounts included Microsoft, Sony Pictures and PlayStation. Tracy was also National Sales Director at What They Like, Inc. where she was responsible for establishing and maintaining a client base and her core accounts included E.A., Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo. Her talent, personality, and extensive skill set would make her a success in any company but Tracy brings her undeniable sales cred to Oakland United! Be on the lookout for Tracy as she introduces our brews to more restaurants and pubs in your neighborhood! You’ll recognize her for her great smile so come on by and say HI!

Maureen Gibe
Maureen GibeALAMEDA / CONTRA COSTA SALES

It would not be an overstatement to describe Maureen as a “force of nature” and we are fortunate to have her as our sales representative in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Her creativity combined with attention to detail led to her success as manager and media and event coordinator at EJ Phair, Ale Industries and The Good Hop. With her beer acumen developed and refined over 15 years in the craft beer industry, Mo is bullish on Oakland United beer. We are all in on Mo, as well, as we look to her not only to drive sales as the Bay area re-opens post-COVID, but also to help us as we strive to become a more innovative, efficient and socially responsible company. Mo knows!

Lisa Wells
Lisa WellsREGIONAL SALES MANAGER

We’re pleased to announce the addition of Lisa Wells to our team as Regional Sales Director. With 25+ years of sales experience in various industries, Lisa brings her passion for building relationships, helping customers and growing the business to the craft beer biz. As an alum of UCLA and supported by husband Mike, sons Scott and Bryan and daughter-in-law Lauren, Lisa’s expertise will help her convert non-believers into Oakland United fans across the Bay area. While she’s new to our team, Lisa first fell in love with our beer years ago during our Linden Street days when her nephew, Andrew Ritter, was head brewer. Sadly, Andrew passed away from ALS several years ago but Lisa’s passion for our beer continues and her presence strengthens Andrew’s “Drink Beer, Slay Dragon” philosophy at Oakland United. Her commitment to expanding the reach of our beer is truly a labor of love and we are delighted to have her on our team!

Kristen Karnay
Kristen KarnayOPERATIONS LEAD

Kristen Karnay is our Operations Lead, a position that requires someone who’s part Traffic Cop, part Jack-of-All-Trades, and part Flying Wallenda. While working at our young start-up is fun, running a brewery requires diligence by many creative people, working together to produce, distribute and sell our beer. Kristen works with all aspects of brewery business workflow, maximizing our efficiency while tracking production, inventory, delivery, budgets and ensuring quality standards and employee safety. She is also primary contributor to our social media so you can add “Wildlife Photographer” to her list of attributes. Interestingly, Kristen has a Master’s of Science degree in Forensic Science from the University of California at Davis and has worked in the Ballistics Department at the San Diego Police Department. So while she could deal with noncompliance in several “interesting” ways, she prefers to rely on her considerable powers of persuasion to implement our production and performance goals.

John Karnay
John KarnayMANAGING PARTNER

John has been a resident and champion of Oakland since 1976 when he moved from Gary, Indiana to the Bay area to attend Cal. Since then, John has married, had twin daughters and had 30 years of experience as a real estate broker, with an interlude as founder of LaSalle Cigars in Montclair. Despite his success, John has never forgotten his roots in the steel mill country of Indiana. His father, most of his family and for a brief period of time, John himself, worked in the steel mills. These blue collar roots help ground John in the values of hard work and equal opportunity and a strong sense of community. You will frequently see John working at the brewery or doing deliveries. If you do, say hi—he would love to hear from you!