2031 Fourth Street, Berkeley, California 94710, United States
Turns out, good beer can do a lot of good stuff. They shook things up in the '80s and helped launch a beer revolution that's in full force today. They keep pushing the boundaries, whether they're in the brewery, with sustainability, or outdoors.
Ken Grossman started the Sierra Nevada with a hand-built brewhouse and the odds were stacked against him. In 1980, the patchwork of pipes, pumps and tanks began producing beers that forever changed the course of American craft brewing.
Ken Grossman was a wild card to get away with. As a toddler, he took things apart faster than his mom could keep up—toaster, washer, outlet covers. Tinkering has become an invention, and learning in school has not been compared to education in a backyard shop. Ken fell for science, though, thanks to a close friend's father. Visiting their house, Ken has always seen and smelled curious bubbling jugs: homebrew.
Ken buys his first homebrewing kit (and hides it from his mother—he was a teenager).
Ken is taking a risk and is opening the Home Brew Shop. It starts slowly, but it builds momentum by teaching first-time classes. Ken's own homebrewing is getting more serious and sought after by locals.
Homebrewing is legalized, and Ken is struggling with what's next. On climbing trips to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, his bold idea takes shape: to build a brewery. It would be easy to name it.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. makes its first batch of beer trial: 5 barrels of Stout. Ken built the brewery from scratch, mainly using recycled dairy equipment. He had to test his handy work on something rich and heavy. On the 21st of November, Ken takes his first crack at Pale Ale. Ten batches later, he finally nails it down. New on the scene, Cascade Hops are giving Pale Ale intense aromas of pine and citrus, a signature that will soon spark the American craft beer revolution.
Ken gets a tip on a gorgeous copper brewery for sale in Germany. The price is right—a kind of price. He could afford to ship it overseas, but there's no money to install it. Once in California, the brewery has been in storage for years.
Ken breaks the ground on a new brewery, the 20th Street location we're still calling home today. At last, he can uncrate the 100-barrel German brewery, give it a shine, and put it to work.
Ken goes all in, adding a 200-barrel brewery just a stone's throw away from the original 100-barrel German system. It's a major expansion—new fermentation cellars, complex infrastructure—and Ken is the last one.
The first phase of solar panels is rising, capitalizing on the blazing sun of Chico. The system grows to more than 10,000 individual panels, generating 2 megawatts of AC electricity—about 20 percent of the needs of the brewery.
They are launching Torpedo® Extra IPA, their first year-round IPA. Their homemade invention, known as "Hop Torpedo," takes dry-hopping to the next level, infusing more aroma without adding more bitterness.
They have officially completed their brewery in Mills River, North Carolina. Making beer on both coasts helps ensure that fresh beer is faster everywhere. The son of Ken Grossman, Brian, steps up to take over the new location.
The Butte County community has the most destructive wildfire in the history of California. More than 1,400 craft breweries join them in brewing Resilience Butte County Proud IPA, a fund-raising beer with 100 percent of sales going to Camp Fire relief. The overwhelming support is helping to inspire the Butte Strong Fund, a partnership dedicated to the long recovery ahead.