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Beyond the Pale: The Story of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Hardcover – August 26, 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Ken Grossman couldn't have known that his early fascination with taking apart household appliances would eventually lead to welding together Sierra Nevada's first malt mill and customizing its bottling equipment. Although obstacles obscured Grossman's path, his determination to brew the kind of beer he liked to drink and be his own boss led to the success of one of America's best-loved craft breweries.

From his youthful adventures to his experience in dealing with the complex landscape of the beer industry, Beyond the Pale chronicles Grossman's trials and tribulations in building a brewery that now produces more than 800,000 barrels of beer annually. Grossman recalls the role models and life experiences that fed his curiosity and drive—from a neighbor's obsession with science and gadgets, to the friends who drew him to hiking, and, finally, to the brewing community that provided both support and friendly competition.

Beyond the Pale details Grossman's start, from homebrewing as a teenager, to becoming a skilled brewer, and, later, to building a small brewery in the town of Chico, California. It shares the business decisions that nearly broke him, yet eventually drove him to success. The sum total of his life provides the foundation of the "Sierra Nevada way," a company philosophy that emphasizes sustainability, nonconformity, following one's passion, and doing things the right way.

Since Grossman founded Sierra Nevada in 1980, part of a growing beer revolution in America, critics have proclaimed his beer to be "among the best brewed anywhere in the world." Beyond the Pale describes Grossman's unique approach, focusing on people, the planet, and the product. His story shows how, with hard work, dedication, and integrity, you can be successful in following your dream.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Beyond the Pale

"This is the creation story of the American Craft Brewing Renaissance. Ken Grossman and Sierra Nevada Brewery not only exemplify the fearless, entrepreneurial, creative, DIY ethos—they wrote the book on it."
—SAM CALAGIONE, founder and President, Dogfish Head

"In this fascinating book, Ken Grossman tells the tale of his brilliant brewing success with his inimitable charm and his famous humility. Those of us who were there watching Sierra Nevada's amazing rise to the heights can now savor the intriguing inside story. It's an American story of dogged persistence and brilliant creativity. This is business at its best and beer at its best—a great story that's true."
—FRITZ MAYTAG, Chairman Emeritus, Anchor Brewing

"Anyone who has enjoyed a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has experienced, firsthand, Ken's commitment to brewing one of the finest beers in the world. Now, in addition to savoring Ken's delicious beer, we can enjoy the incredible behind-the-scenes story of its creation. Beyond the Pale recounts Sierra Nevada's journey from grassroots beginnings to astonishing success – and all the ups and downs in between. It is a story about following through on inspiration, leading with integrity, and the passion that is poured into making great beer."
—GARY ERICKSON, founder, co-owner, and co-CEO, Clif Bar & Company

"In my many years in the brewing industry, nobody has impressed or inspired me more than Ken Grossman. His tale is astonishing: how he rose from brewing in the proverbial bucket to being the genius behind the world's most beautiful brewery. Ken is a legend, yet remains one of the most unassuming people in the business. Quality attitudes, responsibility, fairness, and hard work with an underlying enjoyment in seeking the best: these are the attributes of the Sierra Nevada success story that Ken tells in this brilliant book."
—CHARLIE BAMFORTH, Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences, University of California, Davis

"This is Ken's personal story of his path and the people and circumstances that have brought Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. to the forefront of American craft brewing. It is rollicking and a fun story full of life and overflowing with beer wisdom."
—CHARLIE PAPAZIAN, author, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing; founder of the Great American Beer Festival and the American Homebrewers Association

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (August 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118007360
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118007365
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.8 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

KEN GROSSMAN is the founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., established in 1980. Ken's passion for good beer began when a friend showed him the basics of homebrewing. He began brewing five-gallon batches of beer on his own and soon became a proficient homebrewer. In 1976, Ken opened his own store, The Home Brew Shop, and, soon after, began building a small brewery in the town of Chico, California. His goal: to brew exceptional ales and lagers. An avid backpacker, Ken named the new company for his favorite hiking grounds--the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Finally, on November 15, 1980, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. brewed the first batch of what would soon become a landmark in American craft brewing: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Today, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is considered one of the premier craft breweries in the United States.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
This book is a great read, especially for anyone who owns a brewery or is looking to start one. Sierra Nevada's success is earned through decades of perseverance and Ken's recalling of all of the issues is just as informative as it is interesting. Thanks for your candor, Ken!
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A rare inside and personal look at an incredible life and business journey. Ken's passion for brewing and the company he created (not to mention his huge contribution to the craft brewing industry) come shining through in this incredible book.
Five stars is not enough!
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Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this story. Sierra Nevada was the first "craft beer" I tried back in the mid 90's, and I still vividly remember my first "Bigfoot", which lead to me starting to brew. So for me, learning the story behind the beer was very personal and special.

Brewers, beer lovers, and Sierra Nevada enthusiasts will really enjoy this story. But it's a story of entrepreneurship and business philosophy as well. It also made me think about my business and my employees.

As you read it particularly towards the end open a Sierra Nevada and drink it while you read, the dedication to quality really comes through in the beer. For me that brings it all together!
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Format: Hardcover
This is an awesome story! Being a local to Chico, I have grown up with Sierra Nevada. It was very interesting reading about how this brewery grew so fast. There were many sections that seemed to repeat themselves though. I would definitely suggest this for anyone interested in brewing history!
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Nice read. Describes in detail and give the reader a real appreciation for the incredible amount of work needed to start up a brewery. The later parts tended to focus on the corporate side of SN's development. No mention of the movement to widen the beer selections, nor the thoughts and strategies employed in creating their line of offerings to the consumer.

All in all- an enjoyable read that gives me the reader a much better understanding of how SN slowly emerged as one of the major brewers in the craft beer market.
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By Mark on September 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Being a craft beer enthusiast, I read through this book fairly quickly. Ken Grossman has a great story to tell about how Sierra Nevada was created and how its grown over the years. I was anticipating the release of this book for months and it didn't disappoint, I recommend it if you enjoy craft beer and want to learn more about how Ken Grossman is a badass.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ken Grossman is a true pioneer. He had an incredibly interesting life and the story of his hand built rise to fame is awe inspiring. Fantastic and interesting story. Less business and more narrative then any of the previous brewery stories I've read, but he talks at length about his dilemmas. A great read for anyone who loves a good craft beer
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Format: Hardcover
Ken Grossman and Paul Camusi, two home brewers, founded Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in 1980. Today the brewery is the 2nd largest craft brewery in the US and the 7th largest overall based on sales. The brewery is also noted for its environmental record, winning EPA’s green business of the year in 2010. Grossman starts with his early life and describes the growth of traits such as perpetual tinkering, creativity, loyalty and independence, which would eventually serve him well as a brewer and businessman. You have to admire Grossman’s self-taught ability to design and build five brewhouses and how he identifies the skills he will need to accomplish the task, his passion to go out and learn them, and his courage to turn around and apply these skills. While this is a book about the rise of one of America’s leading craft breweries, it is as much a story about raw entrepreneurial spirit and the passion to surmount all obstacles. It is told from Grossman’s point of view and those on the other side of the various conflicts and growth pains the company endured during its rise to prominence might well dispute his viewpoint. Regardless, it is a fascinating story and well told, written both for those with an overall interest in business and readers interested in Sierra Nevada and the history of craft brewing. If you are looking for beer recipes and brewing advice this is probably not the book for you. If you are looking for a fascinating read on the history of the business of craft brewing, buy this book.
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