If you work in the brewing industry you should read Beyond the Pale
I just finished Beyond the Pale by Ken Grossman founder and owner of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. I use to sell Sierra Nevada and have been a fan of their beers for years. The team at Sierra Nevada is always innovating not only as a brewery but also as a company providing free day-care and health clinics to their employees. Their endeavors to minimize their carbon footprint are some of the best in the industry, having won multiple awards for doing so. In a world where companies seem to care less and less about their employees or community as they grow, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company seems to be doing the opposite.
The majority of the book is about Sierra Nevada. However, it is also a bit of a biography on Ken Grossman. It begins when he was a child, and the antics he would get into with friends as well as his mechanical acumen he developed at a young age. The book goes on to discuss the various jobs he had as a young man before starting Sierra Nevada. The book lays a good foundation of understanding Ken before developing into the trials and tribulation of opening a craft brewery in a time where Big Beer Brands dominated the market. I’m opening a brewery right now and I can say first hand that the obstacles and stressful days I’ve had to encounter are nowhere near what the Sierra Nevada team had to overcome. For example, just the ease at which I can get quality ingredients versus what Ken could find in the 70s is astounding.
Beyond the Pale really makes you worry for the company at each turn of the page.
Even though I have the luxury of perspective knowing that Sierra Nevada is doing fine today, I still worried that Ken’s truck might give out (due to the immense weight of purchasing to much malt), and he wouldn’t make it back from San Fran to Chico. The book tells a story while also educating anyone in the craft beer industry on a multitude of topics from distribution to marketing and everything else in between. So if you are a first-time homebrewer or a VP at a distribution company give this book a read, you’ll be glad you did. You can purchase it here. Also, while you are on their website take a look around, and next time you’re in a bar order a Sierra.
I hate to have to keep this post short, but I’ve hurt my shoulder and writing is a bit painful to do right now.
– Read Up, SlyePup