Historic Beer Birthday: Steve Harrison

Today would have been longtime Sierra Nevada employee Steve Harrison’s 66th birthday. Unfortunately, Steve passed away in August of 2007. He was Sierra Nevada employee number one, and was responsible for a lot of their early success. I first got to know Steve in the mid-1990s when I was the chain beer buyer at BevMo. He was a terrific person and universally respected and beloved in the industry. Sierra Nevada had to hire two or three people to take over his responsibilities. Join me in raising a glass of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale to Steve’s memory today. Here’s to you, Steve.

The last time I saw Steve was at a CSBA meeting in San Diego in 2007, though we talked on the phone a few more times after that because he’d asked me to do some freelance work for him shortly after that CSBA meeting. You can almost make him out in the photo below. He’s in the middle, toward the back, in a blue shirt. He’s in between Tom McCormick (in a green shirt) and a man in a black shirt raising his glass below the giant boulder in the background.


A very young Steve, at right, with Michael Jackson and Lou. (Photo by Tom Dalldorf, from the Celebrator Beer News.)

The Steve Harrison Memorial Arch, which is at the northern entrance to the Steve Harrison Bike Path, which is located not very far from the brewery in Chico. (The photo was taken in 2010 by Jack Peters, and sent to me by Miles Jordan. Thank you, gentlemen.)


  1. Dave Finnman says

    Will raise a glass of SN pale ale (a favorite!) to Steve. We lost a dear friend, Steve Kershner, in 2009. He was my wine and beer guru at Supermarket Liquors in Ft. Collins for 30 years, and a golf buddy. Both Steves are sorely missed.

  2. Alec Moss says

    I miss Steve. He was the first person I knew from Sierra Nevada and we had a nice chat whenever we met up. Last time I saw Steve was in an elevator during the 2006 GABF and he was his usual friendly self. Cheers to you Steve. Alec

    • Miles Jordan says

      Steve Harrison is still very much missed by all his Chico friends and associates. Here’s a photo of the Steve Harrison Memorial Arch that serves as the northern entrance to the Steve Harrison Bike Path, which is located not very far from the brewery. It was taken in 2010 by Jack Peters who bought his first bottle of Pale Ale in 1980 from Harrison who was also working as a clerk in a local liquor store. Like many of us here, Jack has been a devoted fan of Sierra Nevada beer ever since.

  3. Jack Peters says

    “Here Jack try some of this,(Sierra Nevada Pale Ale) my friend Ken is making this beer right here in Chico.”
    Boy Houdy !!! “That’s a Great Beer Steve !!!”
    That was in 1981, and “The Band Plays On”
    Cheers Steve !!!

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