Bill Owens’ Biography

Bill Owens was born in 1938, in San Jose and lives in Hayward, California. From his travels as far afield as India and including a Peace Corps tour in Jamaica, he developed his unique skills and aptitude as an anthropological and social photographer. His book Suburbia, one of the 100 seminal photography books of the 20th century, captured the change in his home territory with much the same spirit of the traveler that he brought to foreign places. Our Kind of People (1975), Working (1977), and Leisure (1979), followed Suburbia. Bill Owens’ work is in museums and collections throughout the world.

Bill Owens established Buffalo Bill’s Brewery as the first brewpub in America since Prohibition on 

His book How to Build a Small Brewery (1993) opened the door to the brewpub movement.  Owens sold Buffalo Bill’s in 1994 continuing to publish American Brewer Magazine which he sold in 2001. Owens used the proceeds from the magazine’s sale to photograph America and this journey planted the seeds for his next venture, the American Distilling Institute, and Distiller Magazine. ADI was established in 2003 as a professional membership organization and publishing house to promote the art of craft distilling.

Artifacts from Buffalo Bill’s Brew Pub were acquired by the Smithsonian Institute and sit alongside Owens’ photographs previously collected by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and two National Endowment for the Arts grants.

Bill’s current book is The Delco Years, a dystopian novel of life after a pandemic kills everyone but people who drink unpasteurized beer. He is also working on his memoir and a book of his collected poetry. 

Delco Years Publishing