the way i work | ken grossman, sierra nevada
“When I first
Ken Grossman, 58, started out as many brewers do: making beer at home. He
liked the taste of hoppy, aromatic handcrafted beer and thought others might, too.
In 1980, he jury-rigged his first real brewery using recycled dairy equipment and
launched Sierra Nevada, one of the first craft brewers in the country. Among
Grossman’s early brews was Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale, which is still its bestseller.
Today, the Chico, California–based company is one of America’s largest craft
brewers, producing close to a million barrels of beer each year. To keep up with
growing demand, Grossman is building a second brewery, set to open this fall on
the East Coast. Because he can’t be in both places at once, it was a tough decision
for Grossman, who likes to walk the brewery daily, chatting with employees and
testing new ways to make his beer taste even better.
as told to liz welch | photographs by drew kelly