The Story

New Helvetia Brewing Co. is a community brewery that celebrates Sacramento’s history and is investing in Sacramento’s future. Our beer is brewed right here in our 10-barrel, steam-fired brewery on the corner of 18th Street and Broadway using locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. For us, supporting local is a matter of pride. We’ve taken our name from the very beginning of Sacramento’s urban roots - New Helvetia was the original name of the settlement founded here by John Sutter in 1839. We’re proud of where we’re from.

New Helvetia is Sacramento. Sacramento is the Indomitable City.

 
 

Nueva Helvecia Colonia

 

"Why are you called "New Helvetia?"

We are asked this question a lot. New Helvetia, or more accurately "Nueva Helvecia Colonia", was the name of John Sutter's original land grant from the Mexican government. The 48,000-acre rancho included the area that is now downtown Sacramento, and stretched north along the Sacramento and Feather Rivers to present-day Marysville. 

Got it? "New Helvetia" is the name this area was known as before the Gold Rush, before California was a state and before Sacramento was a city. We did NOT name ourselves after a font. 

To learn more about New Helvetia, the early days of Sacramento, the people, our local history, please visit (not just virtually) the following attractions.

 

Buffalo Brewery

Originally established in 1890, the Buffalo Brewing Company was started by Herman Grau based on the successful breweries of Buffalo, New York. An ambitious brewery from the beginning, Buffalo became among the largest beer operations west of the Mississippi, with distribution throughout California, Nevada, Hawaii, parts of Asia and Central America. Prohibition reduced Buffalo to producing ice and near beer, but it quickly resumed beer production after repeal. The brewery ceased operation in 1945 after national breweries locked up distribution channels and choked regional and local breweries into extinction. However, in the 1970’s, two enterprising law school graduates re-launched the Buffalo label in Sacramento. After a promising start and apparent success, the upstart operation folded only a few year later and the Buffalo has not roamed in Sacramento ever since. That is until we came along.

The Buffalo Brewery was the inspiration that sparked New Helvetia Brewing Co. Buffalo is a reminder of a time when Sacramento accomplished big things. Despite being in a relatively small town, despite a lack of technology or infrastructure, Buffalo Brewing Co. built a brewery and a brand that exemplified the pioneering spirit of the American West. Nostalgia still remains for Buffalo Beer breweriana, and remnants can be found all over Northern California. New Helvetia introduced "Buffalo Craft Lager" as a homage to the importance of Buffalo Brewery to Sacramento, both our history and our evolution as a city.

 

You will find artifacts from both the original Buffalo Brewery, and the 1970s edition. Take a look at the maps and posters on the walls, they tell a story. The display case showcases some of the coolest, and rarest Buffalo Beer artifacts anywhere. Say hello to "Thurston", our carved wooden buffalo head. According to the Central Valley rancher who delivered to us, it came out of an original Buffalo Brewery tavern (there were many). Whether true or not, we don't care. Thurston is part of our story now.