Anderson Valley Featured In PG&E Commercial

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So I’m watching the Mets beating the Cubs in game 2 of the NLCS and happened to look up as the commercials came on between innings, as I heard something in the voiceover that I wasn’t expecting: Anderson Valley Brewing Company. People in the Bay Area know that PG&E has a P.R. problem after a pipe blew up in a San Bruno neighborhood (on the peninsula north of Silicon Valley and south of San Francisco). The blast registered 1.1 on the Richter scale when a segment of pipe 28 feet long blew out onto the street, thrown about 100 feet and creating a crater 167 feet long and 26 feet wide, killing eight people in the process. They stonewalled after the incident, but eventually the “Public Utilities Commission fined PG&E $1.6 billion,” and there was civil litigation by many of the people directly effected by the explosion.

So for the last few years there’s been a lot of TV commercials portraying PG&E as a company that cares. A lot. A lot of ads, I mean. I don’t know if it’s been a successful campaign or not, certainly I’m not buying it and the fact that they’re still creating new ones and running them frequently suggests that not everyone has been convinced, either. Anyway, the ad I just saw during the baseball game featured Rod DeWitt, who’s the Director of Plant Engineering & Process Control for Anderson Valley Brewing, the drummer for Rolling Boil Blues Band, and an old friend. Here’s the commercial:

This is Rod giving me a tour of the brewery back in 2006

This is the scene shown on every Anderson Valley beer label.

Beer Birthday: Kushal Hall

Today is the 32nd birthday of Kushal Hall, Director of Brewing Operations for Speakeasy Ales & Lagers. Kushal’s been brewing at Speakeasy since 2007, and has been working his way to the top job, which he was promoted to almost three years ago. While Kushal studied photography at UC Santa Cruz, I think we can all agree the world is a better place since he became a brewer. A terrific brewer and person, please join me in wishing Kushal a very happy birthday.

Kushal, second from the left, and the gang from Speakeasy at the opening gala for SF Beer Week in 2013.

Kush serving his beer
Kush serving his beer at Speakeasy 13th anniversary bash in 2010.

Kushal as mad scientist (photo by, I believe, Brian Stechschulte).

Kushal with Betsey and Jesse Friedman at the Anchor Christmas Party in 2012.

[Note: last two photos purloined from Facebook.]

Beer Birthday: Barbara Groom

Today is the birthday of Barbara Groom, co-founder of Lost Coast Brewing in Eureka, California. I first met Barbara when I was the beer buyer at BevMo in the mid-1990s and our paths have crossed on occasion ever since. She makes terrific beers and her brewery recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Join me in wishing Barbara a very happy birthday.

Barbara in the brewery.

This is what Barbara was wearing when I first met her, back when she called on me at BevMo.

Thumbs up.

In the beginning.

Note: All photos purloined from Facebook.

Beer Birthday: Tomme Arthur

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Today is Tomme Arthur’s 42nd birthday. Tomme is Director of Brewery Operations for Port Brewing and the Lost Abbey. One of the established stars of the San Diego brewing scene, Tomme is justly famous for his terrific beers, like his Cuvee de Tomme, the Red Poppy, the Angel’s Share and the Track series. Plus, he introduced washoes to the brewing community. Join me in wishing Tomme a very happy birthday.

At GABF in 2005. Jeff Bagby, brewer at Pizza Port, Tomme, and Eric Rose, brewer at Hollister Brewing Co..

After the Five Guys and a Barrel Beer Dinner, a toast was offered with Isabelle Proximus, the Collaborative Sour Ale made by blending beer and done by the five of them. Top row: Adam Avery, Rob Tod, Bruce Paton and Sam Calagione. Bottom row: Tomme and Vinnie Cilurzo.

Tomme and me after another beer dinner, relaxing in the Cathedral Hill bar with Blind Pig IPA.

Tomme Arthur and his oldest daughter Sydney in front of aging beer barrels, when she was very young.

Beer Birthday: Morgan Cox

Today is the 38th birthday of Morgan Cox, founder and brewmaster of Ale Industries in Concord, California. Morgan started homebrewing at an early age, and washed kegs for Dave Heist at HopTown, before brewing at E.J. Phair. AFter eight years there, he left to open his own brewery, Ale Industries, where he’s been making inventive, tasty beers very since. Join me in wishing Morgan a very happy birthday.

Morgan at the rainy Boonville Beer Festival in 2009.

Morgan with Annie, or Annie N Crew, at the opening gala for SF Beer Week earlier this year.

Morgan pouring at the Breastfest in 2012.

Note: the last two photos purloined from Facebook.

Beer Birthday: Don Gortemiller

Today is the 63rd birthday of Don Gortemiller, former brewmaster for Pacific Coast Brewing in Oakland, California. Don was making beer there since the very beginning, back in 1988, helping to put Oakland and the Bay Area on the beer map, but left under an odd set of circumstances. I believe he’s currently on the lookout for a new opportunity. Join me in wishing Don a very happy birthday.

Steve Wolfe & Don Gortemiller, a bit lighter
Pacific Coast founder Steve Wolfe with Don at their 2009 annual Holiday Beer Tasting.

Don toasting with his beer.

Bruce Joseph with Don at Anchor Brewing.

Don rockin’ out as a young man.

Note: the last three photos purloined from Facebook.

Chuck Silva Leaving Green Flash

Brandon Hernández had the news this morning that Chuck Silva Resigns from Green Flash Brewing Co., published on WestCoaster. I first met Chuck at the old, much smaller, Green Flash brewery not too long after he started there in 2004. As Brandon details, Chuck was undoubtedly a big part of the brewery’s subsequent success. According to the press release, Chuck is planning on creating his own new brewery, Silva Brewing Company, along with his wife Mary Jo. He’s looking at the Central Coast of California, near where he grew up and where he has many longtime friends and family. It’s apparently been in the works for some time now, and starting today, he be concentrating on the new project full time.

About his time at Green Flash, Chuck had this to say:

“It’s been so fulfilling to play such a major role in the accomplishment of so many goals at Green Flash. Together, we’ve come further and grown larger than I could have ever foreseen. I couldn’t have done it alone and I thank every member of the craft community that helped me along the way,” says Silva. “But it’s always been my dream and personal long-term goal to brew on my own terms. Now is the time to go for it and I’m looking forward to working on smaller projects.”

Good luck, Chuck, I for one can’t wait to have a beer at your new brewery.

Chuck Silva, from Green Flash Brewing
Chuck Silva at GABF in 2009.

Beer Birthday: Bill Owens

Today is the 77th birthday of Bill Owens, who founded one of California (and America’s) earliest brewpubs, Buffalo Bill’s, in Hayward, California. The brewpub opened in 1983, but in 1994 he sold it to his then-brewer, Geoff Harries, who still owns and operates it today. Bill also founded American Brewer magazine, which today is part of Bill Metzger’s empire. Bill’s also an accomplished photographer, and has published several volumes of his photos, the most famous of which is Suburbia. More recently, he’s been involved in micro-distilling, in 2003 founding the American Distilling Institute. Please join me in wishing Bill a very happy birthday.

Bill and Fritz Maytag at an event for Maureen Ogle’s book “Ambitious Brew” in 2006.

Bill at Buffalo Bill’s in 1985.

A press shot from the 1980s.

Manning the mash paddile around 1985, the year he made his first batch of Pumpkin Ale, probably the first pumpkin beer in modern times.

Bill Owens’ early book — more of a pamphlet really — on How to Build a Small Brewery.

Anheuser-Busch InBev Acquires L.A.’s Golden Road

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This morning, Anheuser-Busch InBev announced they were acquiring Golden Road Brewing, located in Los Angeles. The Wall Street Journal confirmed “Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed,” and that the “acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter.”

From the press release:

“The energy and passion of the beer community is what drew me into this industry and with Golden Road we wanted to help develop the craft beer market in L.A.,” said Meg Gill, ‎president and co-founder at Golden Road Brewing. “Our team worked hard to build Golden Road from the ground up and we are proud of the growth we’ve achieved in such a short time. California is an exciting and competitive market for beer and I see endless opportunities in partnering with Anheuser-Busch and their incredible distribution network to bring our beers to more people.”

As the largest craft brewery in Los Angeles County, Golden Road expects to sell approximately 45,000 barrels of beer in 2015 and can be found in more than 4,000 retail locations. With a brewery focused on draft and can production, a pub in Los Angeles and a new tasting room downtown. Additionally a new tasting room, opening in 2015, second production brewery and pub in Anaheim will be operational by the fourth quarter of 2016. Its core brands – Point the Way IPA, Wolf Among Weeds IPA, Golden Road Hefeweizen and 329 Days of Sun Lager – represent 95 percent of volume. Along with the core beers, Golden Road brewers are constantly experimenting with the freshest ingredients through a collection of rotating, seasonal and limited-edition brews, most notably the Custom IPA Series, a line-up of diverse, hop-forward IPAs.

“Golden Road’s commitment to making great beer, their pioneering spirit and the passionate beer culture built within the company is what appealed to us,” said Andy Goeler, CEO, Craft, Anheuser-Busch. “Their focus on giving back to the community and impact on the Los Angeles craft market in four short years makes Golden Road a strong addition to our craft portfolio.”

Golden Road Brewing will join Goose Island Beer Company, Blue Point Brewing, 10 Barrel Brewing and Elysian Brewing as part of Anheuser-Busch’s High End Business Unit’s portfolio. Anheuser-Busch’s partnership with Golden Road Brewing is expected to close by the end of the fourth quarter of 2015. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Meg and me at the opening Gala for SF Beer Week in 2011.

Several major news outlets have picked up the story, including the L.A. Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


And here, co-founder Meg Gill talks about the deal in a video.

Beer Birthday: Yuseff Cherney

Today is the 46th birthday of Yuseff Cherney, co-founder, COO and head brewer of Ballast Point Brewing in San Diego. I usually run into Yusseff in the Bay Area or at GABF. He’s a great person and a terrific brewer and I’m certainly glad we can find his beers up north. Join me in wishing Yusseff a very happy birthday.

Claudia Pamparana, co-founder of Faction Brewing, Yuseff, Jeff Bagby, and his then-assistant brewer, Noah Regney, now with Hollister Brewing at the Boonville Beer Festival in 2007.

Sierra Nevada’s Steve Dressler with Yuseff and his wife at the Chico leg of Beer Camps Across America earlier this year.

Yussef with Fal Allen (from Anderson Valley) at Prost Brewing during CBC this year in Denver.

Matt Matthew Brynildson, Earl Kight, and Yuseff at the European Beer Star Awards in Germany two years ago.

Yuseff with 2013’s Hop Queen. (Note: last two photos purloined from Facebook.)