Thursday 11 February 2010

Reasons to be Cheerful - 1, 2, 30

It's always quite something to meet one founding father of a movement, but when five of them get together in a room you've got something quite special, and I felt quite privileged to have just watched the video on Sierra Nevada's new website to commemorate its 30th year - but I probably would have given at least a limb to have been a fly on the wall for it.

Around one table were Fritz Maytag of Anchor, founder of the Brewer's Association Charlie Papazian, beer writer extraordinaire Fred Eckhardt and the man credited with being the US's first microbrewer Jack McAuliffe (formerly of New Albion) alongside Sierra's founder Ken Grossman to celebrate the brewery's 30th anniversary.

Most of you who read this blog will know of Sierra Nevada and its immensely drinkable beers and how, in my opinion, it is one of the three most influential American craft brands in the UK to enthuse people about beers from America (alongside Anchor and Goose Island).

And the reason I wanted to bring this notable anniversary to people's attention is because, not only have I always loved the beers, I've always loved the story behind it, which has always seemed to me to be a mixture of hippy heart-following and finely-honed business acumen, coinciding to create this amazing brand.

The immense pride in what they make, and how they make it, permeates through not only every sip of their sublime beers but in all of their communications and the striking nature of their branding.

Whilst I sadly haven't met Ken, meeting his brother Steve on several occasions has always left me with the distinct impression that it's felt internally that Sierra Nevada doesn't just have a responsibility to its owners, employees and bottom line to succeed, but that it, as a successful brand, owes something to the craft beer scene & local communities too.

Which is something the special Sierra Nevada 30 website reinforces-  from the collaborative brewing efforts to the charitable donations - but one of the most notable parts for me is definitely the video that was shot of these pillars of the craft brewing community.

But it also depresses me in a way, it's something I feel is very much missing from the UK beer scene but hope it's something that will grow in time.


Cooking Lager said...

That photo is doctored. They were not all stood together when it was taken. It's a composite. Kinda sinister if you have a conspiratorial mind.

Laurent Mousson said...

Yeah Cookie, just like in the good old days of Stalinism,. At least at the time, one knew who the bad guys were. :o>

Melissa Cole said...

There is a case that says Jack on the end there looks slightly sinister but if you look at the site it's slightly less so!

Leigh said...

What a line up - really hoping to get my hands on one of these beers. It's about time Papazian et al got some kudos outside thier respective worlds.

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

Its just sad the MJ couldn't be there to. He was as important as any of the assembled gentlemen.

Anonymous said...

Holt's Brewery have raised a great deal of money for charitable causes. They have supported Christies Hospital since 1912 and in 2009 pledged £250,000 for the hospital. Guess they're off most people's radar though?

Don't think they use American hops...

Melissa Cole said...

Hi Anonymous, sorry you felt you couldn't leave your name, that's fantastic stuff - I'm always happy to promote breweries doing great things - but unless they tell me about it I can't write about it and I never hear anything from them, I don't even recall any news on them on the beer writers website which is free.

Perhaps if you have close contact with them you could change this?