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The Theodore Hamm Brewing Company was established in 1865 when Theodore Hamm, a German immigrant, inherited the Excelsior Brewery from his friend and business associate, A. F. Keller in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Hamm's brewery in San Francisco opened in 1954. Its 20-by-80 foot sign, with a three-dimensional 13-foot beer chalice on top, appeared in the first Dirty Harry film and was a local landmark. In the early 1980s, the beer vats were first squatted and then rented out to punk rock bands. Known as "The Vats", the brewery was a center of San Francisco punk rock culture with about 200 bands using individual vats as music studios.