ThirstyBear Organic Brewery’s Founding Brewmaster, Ron Silberstein, established ThirstyBear after his love for home brewing spun out of control. Silberstein first experimented with home brewing in 1980, while attending the University of Massachusetts, Amherst — shortly after home brewing was legalized. He continued brewing right through law school and into his first career as an immigration attorney
In the early ‘90s just as brewpubs started to take off around the country, Silberstein decided to hang-up the billable hours as an immigration attorney and ride the emerging waves of the craft beer movement. He brewed, studied, researched, brewed some more, put together a business plan and took the first Intensive Brewing Science and Engineering diploma course offered by the American Brewers Guild. It was there that he had the incredibly fortunate opportunity to study under the preeminent brewing scientist, Dr. Michael Lewis of UC Davis.
With his business plan, brewing diploma, a bit of luck and an ambitious vision to open the first brewery-restaurant in San Francisco to give equal artisanal focus to both food and beer, he doggedly put together a group of investors who believed in his passion for craft brewing and Spanish tapas. ThirstyBear Brewing Co. opened its doors on September 13, 1996. ThirstyBear Organic Brewery is the first, and still the only, brewery in San Francisco to brew certified organic beer (since 2007) and is the oldest brewery-restaurant in San Francisco.
In September 2014 Ron attended the intensive malting course at the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre and studied under the Director of Malting Technology, Yueshu Li in Winnipeg, Canada. Ron Silberstein founded Admiral Maltings, along with his partners Curtis Davenport and Dave McLean (Magnolia Brewing) at Alameda Point in Alameda, CA. Admiral Maltings produces premium quality malt using traditional floor-malting methods and sustainably grown (organic or no-till), locally sourced grain. With its focus on process, terroir and grain variety, Admiral Maltings fosters a robust connection between craft brewers and distillers and their local agricultural community. Admiral produced its first batch of malt in June 2017.
Ron is also a founding member of the San Francisco Brewers Guild, sits on its board of directors and obtains brewery and industry sponsorships to fund SF Beer Week.