Water, malt, hops and yeast. These are the ingredients to an obsession, one that has followed Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s founder Ken Grossman his entire life. An avid tinkerer turned inventor and home brewer, Ken’s true source of inspiration stems from the verdant basins and rocky peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains in his home state of California. It was out there amongst the hiking trails and natural vistas that Ken first had the idea to start his own business, a spark of creativity that would eventually grow into one of the largest private owned breweries in all of America.
I’ve always had association with the outdoors, with the wilds, with activities that bring me closer to nature,” says Ken. “I was fascinated with the whole alchemy of turning raw ingredients into beverages, and so I was exposed to it very early on and it sort of was in my blood.”
Finding inspiration in the exploration of the natural world around us became a core tenet of the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, one that is upheld by all of its staff today. As much tinkerers and artists as brewers and chemists, these workers find ingenuity in all walks of life, and fold this passion into the beer they are creating.
“For me, that ability to just see what you’re wanting to produce as an end product and then figure out how to get there, how to put together different ingredients, different hops, different yeast, different temperature regimes… that’s where the artistic side comes in. Because some things you just can’t explain by numbers and math and chemistry, there’s a lot of discovery involved in brewing as well.”
For Ken, maintaining this spark of curiosity is paramount for maintaining a passion and drive in everyday life. He explains, “I think, the people who to me are curious people are more interesting people. I think having spark and spunk and having that lust for life are all positive things that make living more worthwhile.”
So what sparks your curiosity? Find out more in our video profile of the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s Chico Brewhouse.