The Way I Work: Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Knee_Deep_Fan, Jan 3, 2014.

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  1. Knee_Deep_Fan

    Knee_Deep_Fan Initiate (0) Nov 20, 2013 California

    BigGoersh, ChrisMyhre and Providence like this.
  2. Brabander

    Brabander Initiate (0) Oct 10, 2009 Netherlands

    Good article! I met Ken and his staff two years ago in Belgium. Great guys.
    Givemebeer likes this.
  3. Providence

    Providence Crusader (753) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    Sierra Nevada and Ken Grossman embody everything that initially attracted me to craft beer: A well crafted product done by people who care about the community. I try my best to make sure my beer dollars go to breweries that make the betterment of the community a priority. Ken and SN do that. Here's three quotes I picked out that exemplify what I am talking about.

    "Beer is heavy and expensive to truck, and I care deeply about our company's environmental impact."

    "We have subsidized lunch plans: All employees get a tab, which increases with the number of years worked."

    "We also have subsidized day care and an on-site health clinic that's free to employees and their family members."

    I would support SN even if their products were just so-so. The fact that they make kick ass brews is just a bonus to me.
    tolar111, VonZipper, Mongrel and 12 others like this.
  4. Crusader

    Crusader Disciple (320) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    I can see where these types of considerations would be important to some US craft beer drinkers, in a country where a living wage can be a difficult thing to find, and benefits are even more elusive for many, craft brewing as an ideal might take on additional meaning as as a sort of a neo-corporatist means of production. I haven't really considered US craft brewing from this point of view before, of providing decent wages to workers thanks to good margins and returns on investment, but I can definately see where you are coming from.
  5. Providence

    Providence Crusader (753) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    It's certainly difficult trying to be a well informed consumer in this day and age, that goes for anything, not just beer. Sierra nevada does all these great things, but let's be honest, they may be doing so crappy things too, and few ever talk about those behaviors. Nevertheless, one must look at the information that is accessible and make a judgement call. Of all things I have read, scene, experienced, heard from reliable sources, etc. Sierra Nevada seems like an awesome company. I'm sure other companies are doing great stuff. I have heard about some great employee benefits at Maine Beer Co. that I am going to try and look into more. The flip side, for me at least, is that if you don't look out for your employees, or if you put them in a difficult situation, then you're on my shit list and I won't touch your stuff (brewery or otherwise). I am certainly not perfect with this, as I am sure that I have bought and continue to buy products made by companies that treat workers poorly. But like I said, getting info is key and I believe striving to be a better consumer that supports businesses that care about people makes a huge impact, even if one is less than perfect in their attempts.

    Enough soap boxing. SN kicks ass! I am grabbing a Celebration right now!

  6. CraftBeerMe

    CraftBeerMe Initiate (0) Nov 13, 2011 Virginia

    Cheers for beers and the pioneers who make them!
    Knee_Deep_Fan likes this.
  7. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado

    Nothing like a detailed article from the perspective of the subject to make you feel that you've spent your beer dollars wisely. And I will continue to purchase Sierra Nevada products with enthusiasm knowing that, for the most part, my dollars are going to a company that gives a shit.
    Knee_Deep_Fan and dennis3951 like this.
  8. BillManley

    BillManley Aspirant (244) Jul 2, 2008 Minnesota

    I can say from personal experience that all of this is true.
    I've been with Sierra Nevada going on six years now, and I can honestly say that this is the best company I have ever had the pleasure of working for. There is genuine care and concern for employees, their families, and their well being.
    Since I've been at the brewery, I've personally have several big life changes. I got married, bought a house, had a baby, moved across the country into a different job, and the moved across the country again to take yet another position, and every time, the brewery has been right there with me through all of these developments.
    Questions and concerns are always treated with respect. Disagreements are welcome, and even a dissenting or unpopular opinion is listened to carefully and addressed.
    There has never been a time where I felt uncomfortable talking to Ken or Brian or Sierra Grossman about a question or problem and they've always given thoughtful feedback. I consider them all friends in addition to my employers.
    In my experience, that is incredibly rare.

    For every decision that needs to be made, there is great care put forth to consider every aspect, and genuine concern about doing the right thing. Not the cheapest thing, or the easiest thing...the right thing. Because of that, I have an incredible amount of respect for Ken and for the culture he's built at the brewery.

    At the end of the day, beer is beer, and I love what we make and why we make it and I'm honored to be a part of it, but what I really love are the details, the care and the consideration. I believe in Sierra Nevada and I believe in what the company stands for. I couldn't be prouder to represent the brewery on a day-to-day basis.

    Thank you all for your kind comments.

  9. Providence

    Providence Crusader (753) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    These are wonderful words right from the source and I appreciate you sharing them. Taking care of employees is an extremely important issue to me and as mentioned before I try hard to divert money away from those that don't do right by their workers and towards those that do. Sierra Nevada is easy to love in that regard. Oh and your beers are damn good too.

    Oh and while I've got your attention, bring back Glissade! Ha!
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  10. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Zealot (550) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    I want our employees to think like owners. And I find that making a connection to as many people as I can helps with that mission.

    I do wish more breweries understood this key component.
    Providence likes this.
  11. sefus12

    sefus12 Aspirant (213) Sep 7, 2006 Virginia

    I've been a huge fan of Sierra Nevada ever since I got into craft beer but after reading Ken's book my level of respect for the company grew even more. Sierra Nevada really does seem to care about their employees/community and Ken has gone above and beyond what is necessary to show that. This article highlights a lot of what I learned in the book and make me respect Ken and SN even more. I buy more of their beer than any other craft brewery and I will continue to do so. I've said it many times on here before and I'll repeat it again, Sierra Nevada is what I consider the pinnacle of what a craft brewery should be and many of the reasons why can be seen in this thread (to go along with the fantastic beer, of course).
  12. LeRose

    LeRose Meyvn (1,441) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts

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  13. BlackBearForge

    BlackBearForge Zealot (586) Nov 7, 2007 Florida

    Not only is the company culture important at Sierra Nevada but also the underlying philosophy that quality is paramount. Practically every bottle of Sierra Nevada beer I've had has been consistently as good as the last. Reading "Beyond the Pale" really underscores the hard work this company has gone through.
    Oh, and while I am a fervent IPA lover, yes, I agree, bring back Glissade! lol (But not at the expense of Flip Side or Ruthless Rye!)
    Providence likes this.
  14. Benish

    Benish Meyvn (1,145) Mar 13, 2013 Wisconsin

    Great article!
  15. BKBassist

    BKBassist Disciple (390) Jan 24, 2013 New York

    My professional goal in life is to work for a boss 1/100th as good as Ken seems to be.
    Providence likes this.
  16. Providence

    Providence Crusader (753) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    I gotta tell you, I was bitter towards Flipside (no pun intended) because it replaced another SN brew I dig, Kellerweis. But I had a couple of pints of it last Friday night and it was really good.
  17. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (13,753) Mar 18, 2010 California

    Kellerweis is still being brewed.
  18. Providence

    Providence Crusader (753) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    It's not the seasonal anymore though, correct? I was under the impression that it's still being brewed but it's been replaced in the rotation by Flipside.
  19. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,010) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Kellerweis is year-'round. Flipside will replace Tumbler as SN's fall seasonal - although for 2013, both were brewed:

    Perhaps you're confusing Kellerweis with the now-retired former spring seasonal, Glissade Golden Bock? Ruthless Rye replaced Glissade.
  20. Beric

    Beric Initiate (0) Jun 1, 2013 Massachusetts

    Flipside replaced Tumbler.

    Kellerweiss has always been a year-round option, as far as I've known. Rumor is it isn't selling well, but that it's one of SN's personal favorites (and truly, it's a damn good beer, it's just hard to find sometimes!) so we'll see what happens with it in the future.
  21. Providence

    Providence Crusader (753) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    Ahh ha, that's right. I knew Glissade was gone (sadly), but I forgot which ones Ruthless and Flipside replaced. Thanks.
  22. BrewMichigan

    BrewMichigan Initiate (0) May 4, 2007 Michigan

    I can add to this as well saying that SN is awesome. I was lucky enough to spend time there at a Beer Camp and we were all treated like family. We were given pretty much UN-fettered access to the brewery for a few days not too mention the ability to try almost any beer we wanted. I fully understood after I left there why everyone we meet that worked at the brewery had a constant smile on their face. They all loved what they did for that company and being a part of the company.

    I cannot wait for the NC site to open so I can visit that one next year. Cheers!
    Providence likes this.
  23. Providence

    Providence Crusader (753) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    That's great, I'd love to be able to have that experience. Kudos to you!
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