167 Ken Grossman (Sierra Nevada Brewing Co owner & founder) - Original Recast from 2017
From little things, big things grow…
Inspiring founder & owner of Northern Californian brewery Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, Ken Grossman, is a man of passion, determination and innovation.
From humble roots, as a small West Coast craft brewery with a goal to produce 2,000 hectolitres of beer a year, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co is now a bi-coastal North American business that champions innovation, advanced energy technology & sustainability, business leadership and is now brewing 1.7 million hectolitres of beer a year from their West Coast and East Coast breweries.
After learning to brew from the father of a close friend at a young age, Ken Grossman opened a homebrew supply store in downtown Chico, called The Home Brew Shop in 1976, before selling it in 1978, founding Sierra Nevada Brewing Co in 1979 and releasing their first batch of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co beer in 1980, which was an American Stout.
At the time, there was no such thing as small-scale or “micro” brewery equipment in the USA and it was way too expensive to import from countries like Germany, so everything required for the brewery had to be repurposed or custom built, with Grossman travelling all over California and Oregon in search of stainless still tanks/equipment and teaching himself refrigeration and welding, so that he could fashion the majority of the new brewery out of recycled dairy equipment.
In today’s inspiring chat, brought to you by @craftbeerlovin’ on Instagram and the team at Phoenix Beers, we explore vast-ranging topics including Ken Grossman as an individual, the explosion and evolution of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, his love of hiking, sailing, fishing and diving and how Sierra Nevada got its name (it’s not as 100% obvious as you think), Sierra Nevada’s partnership with monks in a small Northern California town - brewing a series of Ovila Abbey ales inspired by Belgian Trappist monks that helped raise millions of dollars for the monastery, the brewery’s approach to innovation including the installation of an array over 10,000 solar panels and fuel cells to reduce their environmental impact in 2007 to 2017, where the transition to gas turbines and introduction of Tesla Powerpack batteries now means that Sierra Nevada produce 80-90% of their own electricity onsite!
We chat about Ken’s first trip down to Australia for Good Beer Week 2017, the creation of Sierra Nevada’s Tropical Torpedo IPA, the introduction of their 2nd brewery on the east coast in the mountains of North Carolina to reduce shipping impact and the greenfield site, which enabled Sierra Nevada to minimise the impact in its construction and design, the process that the 5-10 new small batch Sierra Nevada beers brewed every single week have to go through to become part of the core range of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co beers and a teaser of the latest beers that are soon to be joining the Sierra Nevada family including goses, sours & more!
A wonderful journey and inspirational tale of a man who has pursued his passions tenaciously and evolution from one of the smallest of businesses in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Ranges to one of the largest, most successful craft beer breweries in America!
Let’s get into it!