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When my father, Ken Grossman, first visited Chico, it was a crystallizing moment. Our new brewery location revealed itself in the same profound way. We’ll soon be on both coasts, but we’ll have a unified sense of home.
My dad is originally from Southern California. In 1972, he went on a cycling trip along the North Coast of California. But before he did any pedaling, he visited some childhood friends enrolled at CSU, Chico. That trip inspired his move up north. He had fallen in love with Chico and the surrounding culture. It still charms him nearly 40 years later, 32 of those at the helm of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
The public’s reception of Sierra Nevada since my dad launched Sierra Nevada<sup>®</sup> Pale Ale in 1980 has been nothing short of remarkable. It all started locally—there wasn’t really an alternative, after all—but folks outside of town caught wind of the American-style Pale Ale from the town nestled in the Sierra foothills.
Now here we are, many beer styles later and the passion—inherited by me and my siblings—stronger than ever, with the perfect spot in Western North Carolina.
Our journey to select the second brewery location was exhaustive. For two years we explored more than 200 sites. Since we’re a brewery, water quality and supply were two of many important factors. But to be truly consistent as a company, we focused on things like quality of life and outdoor recreation—what first drew my dad to Chico. The Mills River community is the right fit, and we’re humbled by how supportive and welcoming its people have been, especially the great local brewing community (whose beer we’re spoiled to have now within reach).
The new site, set on nearly 190 acres along the French Broad River, is abuzz with activity these days. Walls are going up and exciting equipment installations are just around the corner. In fact, my dad just returned from Europe where he made his final inspections of our new brewhouse, fermenters, and bottling line. (He’s all smiles about that kind of stuff; there’s no doubt he had a blast.) Beer will start heading out our doors in Mills River in late 2013—beer delivered more efficiently to the East Coast. It benefits our customers and is the best way to limit our environmental impact.
As the new year unfolds, we’ll give you the insider look: installations, environmental initiatives, local partnerships, and more.
I’m honored to be one of the brewery leaders in Mills River. It’s a proud time for this family business. While the project is exciting for us, we suspect it’s also exciting for the Western North Carolina community. Here’s to the next chapter full of new flavors and friendships.