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Adventure & Passion

Our Story

From restless youth to craft beer pioneer.

Ken Grossman was a wild card from the get-go.

As a toddler, he took things apart faster than his mom could keep up—the toaster, the washer, outlet covers. Tinkering turned into inventing, and learning in school didn’t compare to education in a backyard shop. Ken fell for science, though, thanks to the father of a close friend. Visiting their house, Ken always saw and smelled curious bubbling jugs: homebrew.

Adventure & Passion

Our Story

1970
Ken discovers freedom in the Sierra Nevada mountains. He and his friends trail hike and mountaineer, often for 7-10 days at a time.
1972
Tired of Los Angeles, Ken joins friends on a road trip to Chico, California. This is Ken’s kind of town. He moves there two weeks later—homebrewing supplies in tow.
1977
Ken drives to the hop source in Yakima, Washington. He convinces merchants to sell him hundreds of one-pound 'brewers cuts”—samples breweries used to plan big orders.
1981
The debut of Celebration®, a fresh-hop IPA brewed for the holidays. It’s a new take on beers of the season, which are often spiced and sweet.
1983
A malt-and-hops giant, Bigfoot® startles onlookers. Clocking in at nearly 10% ABV and 100 IBU, the Barleywine-Style Ale becomes a cult classic.
1986
Despite clever modifications and makeshift expansions, Ken’s original brewhouse hits max capacity with demand still rising.
1993
Harvest Ale is the nation’s first “wet hop” beer: hops are plucked, delivered, and go right into the brew kettle, all in a 24-hour window.
1994
The brewery’s production grows 50 percent several years in a row. Ken starts making plans to keep up.
2004
We install four hydrogen fuel cells to drastically offset our energy consumption. It hints at more ambitious efforts to come around sustainable brewing.
2010
Demand is still rising, the Chico brewery’s out of room, and a big decision looms.
2012
We break ground on an East Coast brewery in Mills River, North Carolina.
2013
To bring our brewery spirit to the San Francisco Bay Area, we open the Torpedo Room, a neighborhood hangout in Berkeley, California.
2016
Our Mills River brewery earns LEED Platinum Certification—the first production brewery in the U.S. to receive this honor. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the top green-building rating system in the world.
2017
Always eager to innovate, we install a Tesla Powerpack battery system in Chico to help us better use the energy we produce. The Powerpack charges when energy demand is low, then kicks in when demand jumps.

Bigger Than Beer

Mindset

The goal was simple when we started: make incredible beer. But there’s more at stake, so we brew and do business like the planet’s future depends on it, because it does.

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The Death Ride
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Hazy Little Thing IPA wins gold!