Ken Hollingshead Sr., Grandfather of OC's Craft Beer Scene, Passes Away

Categories: Hops to It!
Hollingshead's Delicatessen
Mike and Ken Hollingshead.
Ken Hollingshead Sr., a pioneer in Orange County's craft beer scene, died in his sleep on Tuesday night.

He was the founder of Hollingshead's Delicatessen, the eclectic deli and bar in Orange known for its Cheers-like atmosphere and unparalleled tap list. The Hollingshead family--Ken, along with his son Kenny and grandson Michael Kenneth--has run the neighborhood treasure since 1963.  

Many in OC's craft beer scene saw Ken as a mentor and "grandpa." Haven Gastropub posted on its Facebook page, "Our entry into the world of craft beer in Orange County was inspired by the healthy appreciation that was fostered through the years by the Hollingshead family." 

Ed Heethuis, who previously worked in Tustin as a beer wholesaler, wrote on his Facebook page, "I will always remember Ken Sr. as a mentor and a friend . . . his genuine smile, gracious laugh and zest for life will always be remembered with extreme fondness." 

We'll post more information and tributes as we receive them. Our thoughts are with the Hollingshead family. 

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Thanks for the memories, Ken. I remember him catching one of the kids on staff ogling a young lady that had walked in and from across Ken shouts, "Hey! I pay you to look at THESE cans, not those!" One of many great remembrances. - Gus Hernandez

Kit Hope
Kit Hope

Condolences to the Hollingshead family.

20ftjesus topcommenter

It's been a few years since I've seen the old guy, but remember him slinging around cases of beer.  Hope I can do the same at that age.

Josh Foote
Josh Foote

I love his sandwich shop on main st. RIP

Tammy Bartel
Tammy Bartel

I LOVED THAT MAN!!!! Ugh, I'm so sad....


For those that don't know, Ken was a tad hard of hearing,  and funny as hell.


i took a newb friend there once, a guy who wasn't really a beer guy. i warned him, just walk up and tell him what you want and speak up.


well, the guy walks up and says "do you have any german beers?" Ken yells back "what the hell son, look behind you! I've got over a hundred german beers! what do you want?" everyone in at the bar stared and chuckled. Ken then went on to give the guy like 5 samples and helped him choose a beer. 


What a bummer, I really enjoyed that cantankerous guy, he's yelled at me more than once in the friendliest way possible. 

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