Imagine starting a home brewery, planning to supply your own craft beer to a few local stores and bars, and 30 years later finding yourself a billionaire.
Welcome to the world of craft brewing king Ken Grossman.
Grossman, now 64, founded his Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in 1978 in an effort to diversify the beer options available in America, at a time when there were only 45 indie breweries in operation in the country.
Since then, things have come a long way and craft beer has become hugely popular. Back when Grossman started, however, it was more of a hobby than an industry.
The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company started with just a home brewery and shop but soon found that it had tapped into a lucrative market as sales grew rapidly and demand kept the sales charts moving upwards.
Grossman claims he was just a teenager when he first learned about home brewing from his father’s friend, who would often let him taste his concoctions. For Grossman, it was the beginning of a love affair that would see him go on to reach fortunes he never dreamed of.
Yet what the Sierra Nevada is today bears no resemblance to its humble beginnings. It’s now a huge brewery, with expensive equipment and policies and procedures to ensure quality and consistency. Grossman is no longer a young home brewing hobbyist, but the CEO of a huge corporation which takes in millions in revenue and on which a fair share of the 500,000 jobs the craft brewing industry creates rest.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co is also passionate about the environment and in 2010 won the ‘Green Business of the Year’ award, given out by the EPA. That’s no small feat, and companies that win it have to significantly reduce their environmental impacts.
So what about the selection on offer? There are standard beers available all year round, but there are also seasonal, flavored beer which are only available at certain times, and there are limited edition labels which are only available for a short period of time.
Whether you’ve jumped on the craft beer bandwagon yet or not, Ken Grossman has made it big time, and as his Sierra Nevada Brewing Company goes from strength to strength, the sky seems to be the limit for the man who started out brewing bottles of suds at home.