Hotaling Remembers 1906 Earthquake with Special Rye Release


April 19, 2024

Old Potrero Hotaling Bottled in Bond Rye Whiskey bottle on barrel

April 18 marked the anniversary of the 1906 Earthquake that destroyed most of San Francisco, but notably not the A.P. Hotaling whiskey warehouse.

To mark the miraculous survival of the warehouse and the continual ingenuity of the city, San Francisco artisanal spirits producer Hotaling & Co. yesterday announced the re-release of Old Potrero Hotaling’s Bottled in Bond Rye Whiskey, pot-distilled from 100% malted rye and aged in once-used, charred fine-grain, American oak barrels for 16 years.

“We originally launched this expression to celebrate the anniversary of San Francisco’s rebirth after the devastating earthquake of 1906,” Liz Brusca, Vice President of Marketing at Hotaling & Co., said in a news release. “We are relaunching it this year to toast San Francisco’s continued pioneering and resilient spirit.”

Old Potrero Hotaling’s Bottled in Bond Rye Whiskey is aged 16 Years and bottled at 100 proof. With only 432 bottles produced, the SRP is $199.99.

“From the very first days of our distilling experiments with 100% malted rye mash, we loved the flavor and aroma of the new spirit,” Master Distiller Bruce Joseph, who worked with Fritz Maytag on the original creation of Old Potrero in 1993, said.

“It was complex and bursting with bold flavors. Old Potrero Hotaling’s Bottled in Bond Rye Whiskey presents those flavors in a mature, complex and well-integrated way.”

“Bottled in bond” reflects a federally mandated designation that stipulates and certifies the whiskey has been made by and at one distillery, aged in a bonded warehouse for at least four years and bottled at precisely 50% ABV.

San Francisco Earthquake of 1906: Ruins in vicinity of Post and Grant Avenue. Looking northeast. (Wikimedia Commons)

The History of A.P. Hotaling & the 1906 Earthquake

In 1906, earthquake, fire, and dynamite ravaged San Francisco, claiming 28,188 buildings and an incalculable number of lives. After the disaster, several clergymen asserted that the catastrophe had been divine retribution, visited upon the City by the Bay for its sinful ways.

Thanks to the pluck and ingenuity of its staff, the San Francisco fire department, and the Navy, A. P. Hotaling’s Jackson Street whiskey warehouse survived. And so, “while millions of dollars’ worth of normally non-inflammable material was reduced to ashes,” the Argonaut observed, thousands of “barrels of highly inflammable whisky were preserved intact in the heart of the tremendous holocaust.”

After the fire, UC Berkeley professor Jerome B. Landfield bumped into Stanford grad Charles K. Field.

“He accompanied me to Berkeley,” Landfield recalled, “and I put him up at the Faculty Club for the night. As we walked down to the station on our way back to San Francisco, Field asked me for a blank piece of paper on which to write. I handed him a used envelope.  On the back, he penned these lines: ‘If, as they say, God spanked the town/For being over frisky/Why did He burn the churches down/And save Hotaling’s whiskey?’”

A plaque located on the Hotaling building, which survived the earthquake. (Wikimedia Commons)

Formerly named Anchor Distilling Company, Hotaling & Co. renamed itself in 2018 to acknowledge this history and its position as the oldest, and currently only, distillery in San Francisco’s city limits and the first U.S. producer of crafted copper pot-distilled whiskey after prohibition.

“We chose the name Hotaling & Co. to pay tribute to our organization’s past as it has been the name of our rarest and most sought-after expression of Old Potrero Whiskey, Hotaling’s, and celebrates our deep connection with San Francisco,” Dan Leese, CEO of Hotaling & Co., said.

The Hotaling & Co. distillery is located at Pier 50, Shed B, in San Francisco. For more information on Old Potrero, visit; for more information on Hotaling & Co. visit