200: Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada Is Obsessed with Innovation and Quality


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Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman has been working on “innovation” beers since the brewery’s first days in the early ’80s. Beers we all know and love, such as Celebration and Bigfoot, were once “innovation” beers. That culture of trying new things while brewing traditionally inspired beers that speak to audiences today is written into the very DNA of the company. It’s no surprise that they continue to lead even now, as they move into their fifth decade.

But creating new products comes with challenges in everything from creative approach to technical performance and connecting with drinkers. It’s not easy to find that perfect mix of compelling beer and brand, and even today Sierra Nevada has to approach branding and marketing with focus and discipline.

In this episode, Grossman explains how Sierra Nevada approaches innovation and quality, touching on:

  • How online shopping and beer pickup and delivery have changed the industry
  • Creating beers that delight, excite, and mean something to somebody
  • Marrying the creative process with the technical development process
  • The approach to small-scale piloting and R&D brewing
  • Maintaining and promoting consistency and creativity between Sierra Nevada’s two breweries with weekly taste panels
  • The brewery’s relationship with growers on the agricultural side of beer
  • Underwriting investments by growers in new hop varieties
  • Imbuing the company with a culture of quality
  • Developing new beer ideas, as well as beyond-beer product lines

And more.

Ken Grossman has earned his reputation as a brewer’s brewer through an unyielding focus on quality. Here, you’ll understand why.

*This episode is brought to you by: *

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