October 22, 2009

What is a Beanery?

With word spreading that we are now producing out of the new Beanery in Oakland, many have been asking us a basic question - what is a "Beanery"?

The idea of The Beanery came about when we first created Hodo. We liked the idea of a singular place dedicated to making a special food or beverage - like a creamery, patisserie, bakery, or brewery. So, The Beanery is simply the place where we make delicious things out of soybeans.

There are other beaneries out there - just not "soy beaneries" like Hodo. I have seen beaneries that deal in coffee beans. I have also found casual restaurants calling themselves beaneries. Actually, in late-19th, early-20th century US, a beanery was a simple restaurant where you were more likely to see baked beans on the menu than a cut of meat.

We spent a long time looking for the right location to build Hodo Soy Beanery. In the end, we loved the heritage of our building in West Oakland. Ever since it was first built in the 1920s, it has continuously been in food production. For 70 years, it was a candy factory - you can still see the sugar silos in the back of the building. Then, in the '90s, it became a bakery - our core tofu production equipment sits where the ovens used to be. We love being a part of this history and working in a building that has been producing food all of its life.

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