Company History


Peter Beckmann

Beckmann’s Old World Bakery, Ltd was founded by Peter Beckmann in November 1985.  Son of a craftsman family, he apprenticed in bread-making at Mantei Bakery in Heidelberg, Germany.  After moving to the United States in 1982, Peter had a longing for the traditional breads of his home country, Germany.  He baked the first commercial loaves in his kitchen oven and hand-delivered those first samples on his bicycle to four local Santa Cruz grocery stores.  This was the start of a bakery that to this day has been honoring the German commitment to traditional artisan bread making.



Sharon May sampling bread at a food fair.

In the first year, Sharon May joined the business as a partner, increasing sales locally and expanding the distribution of the products to large neighboring cities in the San Francisco Bay area.  Sharon and Peter expanded the business by opening a local retail bakery and cafe, selling bread at farmers' markets and branding Beckmann’s products in the wholesale grocery marketplace.



Peter Beckmann surveys the remnants of the old bakery on Pacific Avenue

In 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake forced a relocation to our current location in the Seabright Station Cannery.  The move allowed for increased production space and a new capacity for growth.  By 1991, Beth Holland joined the company, became General Manager in 1997 and is now the company’s CEO.  Together they developed a management team which allowed for continued growth in distribution, service and production over the next 14 years becoming  a certified organic facility (CCOF) in 2002 and a food safety certified facility (NSF) in 2005. 



Beth Holland

At the time of our 25th anniversary in November 2010, we employ 120 local residents and deliver approximately 14,000 fresh, high-quality, natural artisan breads to Northern California grocery stores.  We have a farmers' market division servicing 48 markets per week selling our breads as well as our fabulous cookies, pies and pastries.  We bake with a passion to offer you high-quality natural products for your enjoyment and nourishment.