About Us

The History of Flannery Beef

Flannery Beef, a renowned name in the beef industry, boasts a rich history steeped in tradition and quality. Starting with Bryan Flannery Sr, the company's story begins with a passion for exceptional meat that has been passed down through generations. With a focus on sourcing the highest quality beef from within the United States, Flannery Beef has garnered a reputation for excellence among chefs and consumers alike.

An an unapologetic beef lover for the last six decades, the finest and most consistently superb beef in my lifetime is from Bryan Flannery and his family. I have tried and tried to find equivalent flavor and quality elsewhere, but to quote the song, Flannery is simply the best.
––– Robert Parker, Jr
The best piece of meat I’ve had in a long time, this Jorge Rib Steak from Flannery Beef filled the entire house with the potent aroma of meat, age and smoke. I was blown away by the flavor of this meat. I will definitely be ordering my next prime rib from Flannery.
––– Ruth Reichl
These have consistently been the best tasting domestic beef I have had, period, each one fantastic. The Jorge cut is one of the best steaks I have ever eaten, at home or out
––– Larry Olmstead, Forbes

Flannery Beef’s lineage traces back to the 1930s when Bryan Flannery Sr. landed a job as an apprentice to French butcher Henry Bercut of Grant Market, the country’s largest butcher shop. As Bryan Sr learned the ins and out of old world butchery, he eventually rose through the ranks to oversee a team of 60 butchers, and from there opened his own butcher shop in 1963.

Passing down his wealth of knowledge to his son, Bryan Jr., the family’s expertise continued to flourish, shaping the ethos of Flannery Beef. This tradition of mastery was further enriched as Bryan Jr. imparted his skills to his daughter, Katie, solidifying a multi-generational legacy of unparalleled quality and dedication. Through each generation, the Flannery family’s unwavering commitment to superior craftsmanship has defined their legacy, making Flannery Beef a renowned name synonymous with premium beef products.

Katie Flannery

There was never overt pressure from Dad to follow in his footsteps, yet despite my initial attempts to pursue other paths, the 2008 economic downturn ultimately drew me back into the family business. Embracing the dynamic environment of our family store, then known as Bryan’s Fine Foods, I discovered a genuine passion for the complexities of our trade.

Upon joining the team, my father entrusted me with the task of establishing an e-commerce platform for our premium food offerings, initially focusing solely on prime dry-aged steaks. As our online presence flourished, the repercussions of the recession led us to make the decision to close our retail store in Corte Madera in 2011, redirecting our efforts towards our true passion: dry-aged beef. This marked the latest chapter of Flannery Beef.

In the early years of this new venture, Dad and I took on the entirety of the workload, from equipment assembly to product preparation and delivery. Despite the challenges, witnessing our customer base grow into a devoted following was immensely gratifying. It was an incredible feeling to see our hard work paying off, and to know that people were enjoying our product as much as we enjoyed creating it.

I fell in love with the nuances within just our small niche of the beef world, and as Dad gave me increasing operational control over our dry aging program, I learned everything I could about the ins and outs of this age old practice. Combining Dad’s hands on knowledge passed down from his father with newer advances in food science, we’ve perfected our dry aging process to the point where I can confidently say we’re producing some of the best dry aged steaks available in the country.

Bryan Flannery

Born and raised in San Francisco, I’ve been immersed in the meat business since I was old enough to handle a broom and sweep the floors in the family meat market. My Dad, Bryan Sr., established Bryans Quality Meats within an independent grocery store on California Street in San Francisco in 1963; a business still in operation and now run by my brothers Peter and Terry.

My dad built both Bryans Quality Meats and his reputation on quality and unsurpassed customer service, becoming known as the best butcher in the west. Prior to opening his own business, he managed and expanded a landmark San Francisco meat store to the level that it employed 80 butchers producing and selling nothing but red meat — no fish, no chicken, just meat.

It was actually during this period and right after he opened his store that I got involved in the potential of taking something to another level by virtue of accompanying him on trips to select the beef to purchase. Back in those days, you could actually go to the beef production facility and wander up and down rows of sides of beef from the prior day’s production and choose the ones you wished to purchase (I’d give my eye teeth for that today). Beef was selected probably 75% by looking for specific markers, and 25% in a tactile sense by feeling for confirmation of shape and fat. To facilitate this, the beef would be partially cut so that you could see the eye at the juncture of the rib and the loin, which makes it relatively easy to select. Plus, it would have been graded by then, and one could zero in on specifically the prime level. Just like today, prime beef only made up a small percentage of total production (I would guess maybe 10-15 per 100) but different from today, didn’t carry a price premium. So competition for the first pick meant that you had to beat all the other buyers to the site.

Dad got in a bit of competition with a few other butchers in the area, and soon we were showing up at the facility at 6 a.m., then 5 a.m., then 4 a.m. One of these early mornings, the other buyers had beaten us there and were already inside ahead of us. Dad took one look at that group, veered off course, and had me follow him up a side staircase to an upper level of the facility where that day’s production was in process. The beef in this section of the plant hadn’t been graded yet, and buyers rarely had the knowledge to be able to pick out the prime from the choice. But Dad walked through the place and proceeded to select some 15 head of cattle relying on maybe 10% visual and 90% touch and feel. When done, he said we would have to wait for an additional hour to confirm his choices. When the grading process was done by the USDA grader, an astonishing 13 of the 15 were designated as Prime…..and he wanted to argue with the grader about the other two.

He actually became somewhat of a celebrity with a whole cadre of the day’s movie stars either coming up to San Francisco to purchase the meat or having him send it to them in Hollywood by train. Alfred Hitchcock, Vincent Price, and Raymond Burr were among them. Robert O’Dell, the founder of the Biltmore hotel chain, would fly him once a month to Los Angeles to select the Prime Ribs and New Yorks for the company’s many kitchens.

But times change, and it is no longer possible to select your own beef; you pretty much have to rely on the producer and hope for the best. But I never lost that memory of going up to that higher level (how’s that for a metaphor), and that’s probably the main reason I separated from the family (who by the way have upheld the reputation as the best in the west) and launched Flannery Beef. At times, I think there might be a second reason… temporary insanity.

But all’s well that progresses well. Drawing on the knowledge and work ethic passed down to me by my Dad and through me to Katie, we now have a 100% increase in people working tirelessly to ensure that we’re providing the highest level of products available anywhere — again, as in anywhere.

We both have flown all over the country looking for quality suppliers and seeking out experts in the field to help us improve what we are doing and will continue to do so. When we find what we want, I’ll pay a premium to get it, age it to perfection, then ship it with total confidence that Katie and company can do no better; although we’ll not give up trying.

Don’t just take our word for it...