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Happy 30th Birthday Sierra Nevada!

on 17/11/10 at 12:24 am


Sierra Nevada powers cars with beer leftovers

If the topic is the Sierra Nevada mountain range, 30 years would barely be be counted by a small pebble or a few rings of growth on one of its giant sequoias.

But, the topic here is the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, and in the life of the U.S. craft brewing industry 30 years is huge. In fact, it nearly spans the entire generally accepted life of craft brewing in the United States.

The History

For American craft beer historians, all will typically point to Northern California as the birthplace for this relatively young industry. Most will point to Anchor Brewing in San Francisco and its purchase by Fritz Maytag in the 1960s as the beginning of this new era in American beer brewing. New Albion, the microbrewery–as they were more commonly referred to in the earlier days — started by Jack McAuliffe in 1976, often comes next in the chronological conversation.

Fast forward through the next few years to 1979 when Ken Grossman was toying with the idea of turning his homebrewing passion into a full-fledged microbrewing operation in Chico, Calif. By November of 1980, he was ready to launch a small brewery pieced together from equipment cast off from other breweries.

Over the years and through tremendous growth, from smart energy to recycling to conservation, the number of ways in which Sierra Nevada becomes ever-more-eco-friendly from one year to the next is staggering. SNBC has never lost focus on this integral component of their mission and business model and is continually recognized as a leader in sustainability and eco-friendliness. These topics could easily serve as material for a longer, separate article.

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