Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
In 1979, Ken Grossman began building a small brewery in the town of Chico, California. His goal: to brew exceptional ales and lagers. Today, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is considered the premier craft brewery in the United States. And the beer? Critics proclaim it “Among the best brewed anywhere in the world.”
Ken’s passion for brewing began when a friend showed him the basics of home brewing. Using homemade equipment, Ken began brewing five-gallon batches of beer on his own, and soon became a proficient home brewer.
In 1976, after studying chemistry and physics at Butte Community College and California State University at Chico, Ken opened his own store, The Home Brew Shop. There, he supplied Chico’s home-brewing community with equipment, materials, and advice, but dreamed of opening his own brewery.
Two years later, it was time to make the dream a reality. Ken and co-founder Paul Camusi cobbled a brewery together from dairy tanks, a soft-drink bottler, and equipment salvaged from defunct breweries. Though the equipment was second hand, they created a first-rate microbrewery. The ingredients were premium, including the copious quantities of hops that would become the brewery’s trademark. An avid backpacker, Ken named the new company for his favourite hiking grounds, the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Finally, on November 15, 1980, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. brewed the first batch of what would soon become a landmark in American craft brewing: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
Word spread quickly, and over the next decade the demand for Sierra Nevada brews soon exceeded the brewery’s modest brewing capacity. Despite nearly constant additions to the brewery, Ken was soon back at the drawing board, planning a new brewery. In 1989, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. moved to its current site.
A true pioneer of American Craft beer.