The Way I Work: Ken Grossman

Sierra Nevada has been the best at quality control forever.  I’m sure everyone who has home brewed or worked at a brewery is envious of their QC lab.  I am.  And you should be.

Here’s what I really want though:  “a very fancy instrument, an EPR spectrometer, for $250,000. You can put hops, beer, or whatever you want to analyze into the machine, and it separates out each compound and its aroma. So if I think, This is a great aroma; where did it come from? I can see it’s from this malt or that variety of hop.”

So damn cool.  But Mr. Grossman is straight up frozen he’s so cool.  “I’m convinced that our success is driven by our focus on quality. We do things that most small brewers would consider labor intensive and expensive. For instance, we use whole cone hops instead of pellets–hops that have been pulverized and compressed. Pellets are easier to store and last longer, but I think whole cone makes better tasting beer. We never really advertised much, and we still don’t. I’ve always thought it was better to focus on our beer.

We have a very advanced research and development team that I meet with every week to go over new ideas and discuss results. For instance, there might be a new bottle-cap lining material we want to try. Most liners are made out of PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, which is banned in many European countries. Ours are not–we use a blend of food-safe plastics. We’ve been working to find the Holy Grail of bottle-cap liners–something that doesn’t impart any flavor or odor while preventing oxygen from migrating back through the plastic into the beer. A lot of our research has been done around finding material that doesn’t scalp, or absorb the aromas from the beer. I’m techy, and finding the Holy Grail of bottle-cap linings is really important to me”

More at the link on how Grossman runs the brand.

The Way I Work: Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada |