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GENTLE BEN'S HISTORY
Gentle Ben’s has been on the block since 1971 and has been brewing award winning brews since 1991. The original house was located under what is now the lobby of the Marriott Hotel. Built in 1908 as a private residence for the Hamilton family, over the years it served as the university president’s house, a boarding house, and home to several fraternities.
Gentle Ben’s Brewing Company of Tucson began brewing in 1991 and, at the time, was the only brewery in Tucson. We started with three beers; Tucson Blonde, Red Cat Amber and Copperhead Pale Ale, all still brewed today and joined by five other styles. In 1994, the Marshall Foundation, who owns most of the real estate in the neighborhood, including the old Ben’s, informed us of plans to raze the block and offered us a chance to rebuild.
At the time, the location was The U of A Center for Architectural Landscaping. We were allowed much input on the building design and decided to save the foundation and triple red brick walls of the one story building. The structure was originally built as a bank in 1970. Much of the wood and brick salvaged from the original Ben’s and the bank were used in the new construction. The old vault and its two foot thick concrete ceiling is still intact, holding up the 30,000 pounds of beer in the upstairs cold box and serving as the office and employee room. We tripled the size of the original kitchen and our brewing capacity, as well, so we can offer kegs to the other bars and restaurants in the state.