Butte College’s free tuition offer for 2018 jump-started by Sierra Nevada founders’ donation

By Alyssa Pereira, SFGATE Published 11:16 am, Wednesday, January 31, 2018 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-4', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 4', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: Sierra Nevada Brewing Image 1of/4 CaptionClose Image 1 of 4 Sierra Nevada Brewing offers a variety of daily themed tours at its headquarters in Chico. Sierra Nevada Brewing offers a variety of daily themed tours at its headquarters in Chico. Photo: Sierra Nevada Brewing Image 2 of 4 Drinking buddies: Sierra Nevada Brewing founder Ken Grossman (right) and son Brian, co-manager at the company’s Mills River, N.C., brewery. Drinking buddies: Sierra Nevada Brewing founder Ken Grossman (right) and son Brian, co-manager at the company’s Mills River, N.C., brewery. Photo: Courtesy Of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Image 3 of 4 Ken Grossman, founder/owner of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Ken Grossman, founder/owner of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Photo: Courtesy Image 4 of 4 Butte College's free tuition offer for 2018 jump-started by Sierra Nevada founders' donation 1 / 4 Back to Gallery Butte College in Chico has announced a new program beginning at the school in Fall 2018 allowing first-time, full-time students to go to their community college for free for two semesters. The new program, called The Butte College Promise Scholarship Program, is being funded by a mix of private and public funds, but was just "jump-started" by a substantial donation from Ken Grossman, the founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, and his wife Katie Gonser. Continue Reading

Sierra Nevada issues recall of select beers sold in 36 states

SAN FRANCISCO  — Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. announced a recall Sunday of certain 12-ounce bottles of its pale ales, IPA's and other beers after detecting a packaging flaw that could cause a piece of glass to break off into the bottle. In a statement Sunday, it said the recall applies to eight different types of its craft beers, including its popular Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, purchased in 36 states across the Midwest, the South and East Coast of the United States. The California-based company issued the voluntary recall after quality inspections at its Mills River, North Carolina, brewery detected a limited number of bottles made with a flaw "that may cause a small piece of glass to break off and possibly fall into the bottle, creating a risk of injury," the statement said. The affected beer has a package date that falls between Dec. 5, 2016, and Jan. 13, 2017 and a brewery code of "M'' — which stands of Mills River — printed directly on bottles and the packaging of cardboard cases. "We have decided to take this precaution to ensure the safety of our customers," Mike Bennett, chief supply chain officer, was quoted as saying. He said Sierra Nevada had not received any consumer reports of injuries, and it believed the concern could impact about 1 in every 10,000 — or .01 percent — of its bottles packaged during the five-week time period. Aside from its Pale Ale, the Sierra Nevada recall includes 12-ounce bottles of its Beer Camp Golden IPA, Sidecar Orange Pale Ale, Torpedo Extra IPA, Tropical Torpedo, Nooner, Hop Hunter and Otra Vez. The company has stopped distributing all affected beer and is working to have it removed from retails shelves, the statement said. Consumers were urged to check the company's website for details on the recall and not to drink any of the recalled beer, which would be fully refunded. The recall applies to the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Continue Reading

First Fat Tires roll out of East Coast brewery

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — New Belgium Brewing Co. has cranked up its East Coast brew house and started making beer for sale at its new Asheville, North Carolina, brewery.The first bottles of Fat Tire amber ale have been filled at the brewery and delivered to distributors along the East Coast, New Belgium spokeswoman Suzanne Hackett said Monday morning. They include Skyland Distributing, which places New Belgium's beers to Asheville-area retailers in Western North Carolina.East Coast drinkers may have already had bottles of Asheville-made Fat Tire, but there is no way for the public to really know, since labels will be identical for beers made in Asheville and in Fort Collins, where New Belgium has its original brewery."It is entirely possible you have been drinking Asheville-made Fat Tire for a while now," Hackett said. New Belgium's Ranger IPA and 1554 Black Lager will be the next production beers in Asheville.An exclusive visit to the brewery along the French Broad River showed a sweeping, 127,000-square-foot brewing operation. Big kettles filled with Fat Tire were in various stages of production Monday.When public tours begin later this summer, visitors will get up-close looks at the 200 hectoliter brewing system and an overlook that offers views of the bottling line which can fill up to 480 12-ounce bottles per minute. A big red slide connects the brewery's two floors and visitors will be able to zip between the levels.EXPANSION: New Belgium delays East Coast opening ... again"We wanted to have some fun" with brewery tours, brewing manager Alex Dwoinen said.The brewery's next-door Liquid Center tasting room will open May 2 with a patio that offers a view of the French Broad River along Craven Street. The property was previously the Asheville stockyards, and much of the woodwork inside was salvaged from that site.Bringing the brewery online almost completes the New Belgium project, which was announced in 2012 and includes a separate distribution Continue Reading

How the IPA reinvented Odell Brewing

A decade ago, Odell Brewing sent staffers to Supermarket Liquors on Mulberry Street.The request: Collect every IPA from the shelves.As the Fort Collins craft brewery was developing its own India Pale Ale, it deconstructed the hopped-up beer style that was gaining in popularity. Every Odell employee from production to sales weighed in.“We found a lot of bitter bombs out there,” Odell co-founder Doug Odell said. “We felt IPAs at the time were unbalanced on the bitterness side. We wanted to level that out.”They had no idea that 10 years after the initial release of Odell IPA, their beer would reinvent the style, as well as the brewery’s brand.The beer’s sales have grown by double digits every year, inching within 2 percent of 90 Shilling — the Scottish Ale that has been Odell’s top seller since the brewery opened in 1989 — according to 2016 data from Odell.Odell IPA is so prevalent locally that some bartenders call it “Fort Collins water.” It's on the menu at 32 of the 36 beer-serving Downtown Business Association restaurants.The beer is also now available in 14 states and its success helped launch Odell distribution east of the Mississippi River for the first time earlier this year. The Odell IPA logo of a bucking elephant — created by the now defunct TBD  ad agency of Bend, Oregon — has become an iconic image for the brewery.“We certainly didn’t think it would be what it is today,” said Odell Chief Operating Officer and longtime employee Brendan McGivney. “But we are really excited about where it has taken us.”It’s still the only American-style IPA to win gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup.The beer now goes to Great American Beer Festival every year as a measuring stick. Judges use it to compare the American-style IPA entries — the most entered category annually since 2002.“It’s Continue Reading

New Belgium at 25: New goals, challenges

Nate Turner is one of two people at New Belgium Brewing Co. who worked their way from the bottling line of the once small craft brewer to the board room of what has become a nationally recognized brand."There was a certain point in time, when I sat in my office in the early 2000s and could think and name every beer we'd ever produced, which was probably about 20 beers or something like that. And then it just started to go exponential," Turner said.In its 25th year, New Belgium's growth will again be jolted as dozens of new workers start releasing beer from a new East Coast brewery in Asheville, North Carolina. The expansion positions New Belgium to face growing competition but also poses questions about how the Fort Collins company will preserve the laid-back, value-driven culture that made it both a local icon and the nation’s fourth-largest craft brewery.Jeff Lebesch and Kim Jordan opened New Belgium in 1991 in their Fort Collins basement. From day one, the co-founders incorporated their passion for cycling, sustainability, workplace balance and craft beer into the company.BREWING: In Colorado, fears about InBev's entry into craft beerNew Belgium held tight to those core values through the years as thousands of breweries sprang up across the nation. The Fort Collins brewer is now sandwiched between craft upstarts and major beer manufacturers like Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors.“The craft space is becoming extremely competitive, so we definitely continue to compete aggressively," Turner said. "We've talked about diversification into different beer segments, different alcohol segments and different consumer segments."What the employee-owned company is not talking about is finding a buyer, despite a recent trend of consolidation in the brewing industry and a December Reuters report stating New Belgium was exploring a sale."It was total speculation. We're doing our Continue Reading

New Belgium, Odell among top craft breweries in 2015

Fort Collins hosted two of the top U.S. craft beer producers in 2015.The Boulder-based Brewers Association released its annual list of the top 50 American craft breweries based on volume of beer produced in 2015.New Belgium Brewing Co. remained fourth in the nation. Odell Brewing Co. moved up to 32nd after ranking 34th in 2014.New Belgium was founded by Jeff Lebesch and Kim Jordan, who opened the brewery in 1991 and initially brewed beer in the basement of their Fort Collins home. Odell was founded in 1989 by Doug, Wynne and Corkie Odell in a converted 1915 grain elevator.EAST COAST: New Belgium delays East Coast opening againA pair of Longmont breweries also made the 2015 list: Oskar Blues was 14th and Left Hand Brewing Co. finished 39th.Breckenridge Brewery of Littleton was 47th.D. G. Yuengling and Son, Inc. of Pennsylvania was the largest American craft beer producer of 2015. Sam Adams parent company Boston Beer Co. was second and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. of Chico, California, was third.New Belgium was also considered the eighth-largest overall U.S. brewery. Anheuser-Busch, which is based in St. Louis and has a brewery in Fort Collins, is the largest. Follow Jake Laxen on Twitter and Instagram @jacoblaxen POLL: What is your favorite brewery in Fort Collins? Weigh in via the poll below. If you don't see the poll, try refreshing your page. Mobile users, tap here. ODELL: Q&A with Wynne Odell You may also like:  CEO Kim Jordan talks New Belgium ethos Continue Reading

Biggest 50 U.S. craft breweries in 2014: Four in NoCo

The Brewers Association on Tuesday released its 2014 list of the largest 50 U.S. craft breweries by beer sales volume.Topping the list was Pottsville, Pennsylvania-based D.G. Yuengling and Son, Inc., followed by Boston Beer Co. and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. at No. 3.Yuengling, the oldest family-owned brewery in the U.S., was new to the list of craft breweries recognized by the Brewers Association; it knocked New Belgium Brewing Co. from its No. 3 position in 2013 to No. 4 in 2014.Last year, the Boulder-based Brewers Association changed its definition of craft beer to include those breweries using both "traditional" and "innovative" ingredients. The previous definition excluded beers made with cereal — rice or corn — adjuncts, and Yuengling uses corn grits in its Traditional and Light Lagers.Without Yuengling, the top three overall producing U.S. breweries in 2014 remained Anheuser-Busch Inc., Miller Coors and Los Angeles-based Pabst Brewing Co.Four Northern Colorado breweries made the list of the largest craft breweries, including New Belgium.Longmont-based Oskar Blues Brewery came in at No. 24, Fort Collins-based Odell Brewing Co. came in at No. 34 and Longmont's Left Hand Brewing Company sits at No. 40. Their positions were largely unchanged from the 2013 list.New Belgium grew 19.3 percent from 2013 to 2014, selling 945,367 barrels last year. Odell grew 28 percent from 2013 to 2014, bringing its sales up to 99,517 barrels.Elsewhere in Colorado, Denver-based Breckenridge Brewery rounded out the list at No. 50. Continue Reading

Who will invest in USA Pro Challenge?

The USA Pro Challenge had a plan: In five years, Colorado’s largest spectator event expected it would land a title sponsor and turn a profit.It didn’t happen.The professional cycling race, bankrolled by the Schaden family, lost $10 million in 2011 and $2 million this year. Rick and Richard Schaden announced last week they will step down from their role as race backer to allow for a new ownership group to take over.The idea, race officials say, is to create a pool of investors — instead of that one, big title sponsor — to give the race long-term viability.The search for the group of sponsors falls on race chief Shawn Hunter and Denver businessman Ken Gart, who is leading Gov. John Hickenlooper's $100 million “Pedal Colorado” plan to improve bike and pedestrian pathways across the state.The two have gathered commitments from Lexus, Pepsi, Edward Jones Investments, UnitedHealthCare, Colorado State University and a host of other mid-tier sponsors.Michael Aisner, race director of the well-loved Coors Classic from 1980 to its end in 1988, said the USA Pro Challenge won’t find a title sponsor.“Cycling is too expensive for one sponsor to bear the entire brunt of all the costs,” said Aisner, of Boulder. “It’s got to be a group. A combination of sponsors creating partnerships in the race. They’ve got to be sponsors who care more about the state than national exposure.”Aisner landed Coors as the title sponsor of his race — the first sporting event sponsored by the behemoth beer manufacturer — which distributed products (T-shirts, calendars, magazines) with Coors’ name slapped on them.The Coors Classic never turned a profit but also never lost money, Aisner said. Coors covered more than half of the $1.5 million to run the race, but once the title sponsor bolted following the 1988 race, the Coors Classic was dead.Chances are slim Coors again would sponsor a cycling event, with a core Continue Reading

Draft Picks: Tapping into Cuban beer

HAVANA - At the tables inside a warehouse that once processed and housed tobacco, men and women smoke cigars. Highball glasses, branded with the Havana Club rum logo, are filled with mojitos heavy on the ice and bursting with fresh mint sprigs. A seven-piece band plays in the middle of the room, and despite the heat and humidity, couples find the energy to dance.The centerpiece of the warehouse, known now as Cerveceria Antiguo Almacen de la Madera y El Tabaco, is a 10-hectoliter copper-clad brew house, and from his perch, Yunier Rizo Rodriguez, one of the brewmasters here, watches as crisply dressed servers in black pants and white button-down dress shirts pour his lagers into dimpled mugs and yard-sized towers, navigate the crowd and serve the beer to thirsty patrons who are visiting one of this city’s two brewpubs.Will beer ever gain the prominence and respect in his country that is currently enjoyed by rum and cigars? “Eso espero,” he says. I hope so. READ: Should you book a cruise to Cuba READ: Havana bound READ: Draft Picks: Get beer from the source through brewery visits READ: Draft Picks: Another round of tasting beerFor generations Americans have had a fascination with Cuba — especially Havana. It’s the city where Ava Gardner, Frank Sinatra and other celebrities of the 1940s and 50s would visit. Where Ernest Hemingway was inspired to write. The fascination continued, albeit on a darker path to the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 that led to the Cuban Missile Crisis the following year along with the U.S. embargo of Cuba, known here as the blockade.While it is modern in many ways, parts of Cuban life — best visually referenced by muscle cars and roadsters resplendent with tailfins and chrome — remain firmly rooted in a bygone era. Recently President Barack Obama ordered the restoration of full diplomatic relations with this island nation of 11 million people, just 90 miles from Key West, Florida. Continue Reading

Yuengling is now America’s top craft brewery

An inexpensive, pale lager favored in many a blue-collar gin mill, Yuengling may not be the first name that springs to mind when one thinks of craft beer. But thanks to changes in the Brewers Association’s guidelines, the Pennsylvania brew not only falls under the craft umbrella, Yuengling has replaced Sam Adams producer Boston Beer Company as the top-selling craft brewer in the United States. Under the Brewers Association’s old rules, a craft brewery had to be independently owned, produce 6 million barrels or fewer annually, and make it made an all-malt flagship beer. Yuengling, the oldest operating brewery in the U.S., uses corn in its beer. The trade organization lifted the all-barley requirement in 2014, opening the door for Yuengling, August Schell Brewing Company and Narragansett Brewing Company to get the craft designation. It’s a distinction that some craft beer quaffers find hard to swallow. “I’ve tried most of Yuengling’s products and they’re usually anywhere from ‘meh’ to ‘okay,’ so I’m not sure I consider them to be a true craft brewery,” Chad Polenz wrote in the Albany Times Union’s “Beer Nut” blog. The guideline tweak occurred because the previous criteria excluded companies that “were clearly traditional in every sense of the word,” Bart Watson, the trade group’s chief economist, told the Daily News. It was also changed to reflect the time-honored practices of different brewers. “Many regional American styles have long incorporated ingredients like corn, and as brewers continue to innovate, we're seeing new ingredients being used by local independent brewers," Watson added. But some critics argue that Yuengling’s brews don’t measure up to true craft beers because of their ingredients. “(They) are not as flavorful as the vast majority of small batch, locally brewed craft beers, Continue Reading